If you've seen any of the trailers, then you'll probably have a good idea what to expect from the first hour or so of Knowing, the latest mind-bending bit of speculative fiction from Alex Proyas (Dark City, I Robot). But even that first hour has its surprises, and after that, the film veers in directions that go far beyond anything you might have expected—directions that will be all the more awe-inspiring the less you know going into the theater.
Don't worry, though, this review shall not divulge the movie's deeper secrets. And thankfully, there is still a fair bit to chew on even without those later revelations, so let's dig in.
The story begins in 1959, with a teacher asking her class to draw some pictures of the future for a time capsule that will be opened in 50 years. However, one of the students, Lucinda Embry (Lara Robinson), does not draw a picture; instead, she scribbles out a series of numbers, and she still has a few digits to go when the teacher snatches the paper out of her hand. The movie then jumps ahead to 2009 and introduces us to astrophysicist John Koestler (Nicolas Cage) and his young son Caleb (Chandler Canterbury), the latter of whom is given Lucinda's mysterious paper when the time capsule is opened right on schedule.
John dismisses the paper at first, but something about the numbers catches his eye—a little too easily, perhaps—and within minutes he realizes that the paper seems to predict not only the date of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but also how many people were killed. John then Googles the other numbers and discovers that Lucinda's paper seems to predict all the major disasters, both natural and man-made, that have taken place over the past 50 years. And, uh-oh, the paper also ...1