Sunday, 19 April 2009
The real star of Knowing isn't a (fortunately) subdued Nicolas Cage, or an overacting Rose Byrne, or even the steady hand of Aussie director Alex Proyas (I, Robot, The Crow); it's the Geelong bypass, on which a major scene (involving a plane crash) of this shot-in-Melbourne thriller was filmed. As we all know, it doesn't matter how good or bad an overseas film shot in Melbourne is. All that counts is getting to have a laugh at the various Melbourne landmarks we're now expected to believe exist in some unnamed US metropolis. Thanks to CGI and a story that mostly takes place in the suburbs, there's not a lot of Melbourne to recognise here: one outdoor shot shows the Melbourne skyline with a whole lot of CGI skyscrapers added, a scene set in New York looks more than plausible until you spot the tram tracks and a final sequence involving a city in disarray does feature the steps of Parliament House in need of a good clean. That means all there is to enjoy about this film is the story: when a strange piece of paper covered with numbers is removed from a 50 year old time capsule at his son's school, Cage - a scientist who believes in nothing after the tragic death of his wife - figures out that it contains details of every major accident that's taken place in the last 50 years... plus a couple that are yet to happen. There are plenty of twists and turns here, and much like Ben Mendleshon's accent not all of them work. But there is a solid sense of dread running throughout this film, and coupled with some gripping disaster sequences (that make the flat patches between them almost worthwhile), it's enough to make Knowing a creepy evening out.
Anthony Morris (this review appeared in Forte # 449)