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"KNOWING"
(2009) (Nicolas Cage, Chandler Canterbury) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy Mild Moderate Heavy Moderate
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Minor Minor Extreme None Mild
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Mild None Extreme Moderate Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Suspense/Thriller: A professor discovers that a time capsule unearthed at his son's elementary school contains a list of disasters that have occurred during the intervening 50 years as well as several that have yet to happen.
PLOT:
John Koestler (NICOLAS CAGE) is a professor at M.I.T. who's recently lost his wife and thus is raising their son, Caleb (CHANDLER CANTERBURY), by himself, and in a highly protective manner. That's of concern to John's sister, Grace (NADIA TOWNSEND), but he assures her he's fine, especially after a drink or two at night.

Yet, things grow more complex when a time capsule opening at Caleb's elementary school presents the students with views of their predecessors' predictions about the future. While most are drawings, the one Caleb opens is from former student Lucinda Embry (LARA ROBINSON) and consists of just a page of seemingly random numbers.

After some investigation and ciphering of them, John comes to the unlikely but startling conclusion that they're sequential sets that correctly predicted the dates of deadly calamities around the world, accompanied by the number of related fatalities. Equally troubling is the fact that a small number of strangers have shown up with an interest in Caleb and are trying to communicate with him via some sort of whispering, and they may or may not have anything to do with the list's three sets of disasters that have yet to occur.

When the next one does and John knows he isn't going crazy with his hypothesis, he understands he must learn more about Lucinda. After learning she previously died, he visits her adult daughter, Diana Wayland (ROSE BYRNE), a single mom to Abby (LARA ROBINSON). With an apparent catastrophe of unbelievable magnitude on the horizon, John and Diana -- who's initially reluctant to help -- set out to figure out what that will be and where it will occur.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're into suspenseful disaster and/or sci-fi type films or are fans of anyone in the cast, they might be interested.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For disaster sequences, disturbing images and brief strong language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • NICOLAS CAGE plays a professor who, following his wife's accidental death, is trying his best to raise and protect his young son, but is a bit overprotective. Drowning his grief in alcohol (in various scenes), he discovers that a recently unearthed time capsule entry contains a list of past and future catastrophes, and thus races against time to figure out what they are and whether he can do anything about it. He uses some profanity.
  • CHANDLER CANTERBURY plays his elementary school age son who misses his mom and worries about his dad who's seemingly becoming unhinged. He must also contend with the appearance of the strangers who whisper to him and show him nightmarish visions of the future. He also wears a hearing aide.
  • ROSE BYRNE plays the adult daughter of Lucinda the numerical prophet, and she initially wants nothing to do with John and his questions about her mom, but eventually does her best to help him and protect her daughter.
  • LARA ROBINSON plays her daughter who also hears the voices, much like Caleb. She also plays her grandmother as a child, a young girl tormented by those voices and knowledge of future calamity.
  • NADIA TOWNSEND plays John's sister who's concerned about him and his estrangement from their father.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this suspense/thriller that's been rated PG-13. Profanity consists of at least 4 "s" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. There's a brief reference to an unseen woman's breasts and a philandering husband, while some translucent figures appear to be nude, but sans any sort of genitalia.

    Violence consists of several disaster sequences (a plane crash with burning victims, a subway train crash, the apparent end of the world) as well as a bad traffic accident, and due to the graphic realism of those scenes, they'll likely be quite unsettling to viewers, while some other material might also be suspenseful. There are some bloody results, but as much as one would expect considering the calamities that occur.

    A character appears to be an alcoholic or at minimum has a drinking problem, while some bad attitudes are present and a handgun is used in a threatening fashion on several occasions. A great deal of tense family material is present, including that related to familial deaths and parent/child separation.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, there's some of that following a bad subway crash, and then a bit late in the film.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, various amounts of handheld (and thus bouncy to varying degrees) camerawork occurs throughout the film.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • John has a glass of wine while grilling. Later that night, he has a drink.
  • John has a drink by himself at night, has a second, and then more, including not paying attention and pouring too much into a glass that overflows. He later has more, but drops that glass when he discovers the date of his wife's death in Lucinda's code.
  • When John meets an elderly teacher to ask about Lucinda, the woman spikes her iced tea with liquor and offers some to John, but he declines the offer that then absent-mindedly occurs again.
  • John has a drink while watching the TV news late at night, and we later see an empty bottle of liquor on the floor.
  • Having witnessed a plane crash and its fiery aftermath, John later drinks straight from a bottle of liquor, followed by his associate doing the same.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • In 1959, young Lucinda has a slight cut on her face (no blood) and a teacher later discovers the girl inside a closed closet, having scratched the door hard enough to leave her fingers bloody.
  • A woman's head and hand are a little bloody following a bad car accident.
  • SPOILER ALERTS: The "flesh" of the strangers disintegrates into the air, revealing some sort of translucent "light" beings that appear to be nude (in human form), but no genitalia is present (although non-realistic bare butts are).
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • John's associate tries to fix him up with his (unseen) sister-in-law, referring to her as "P.H. Double Ds." About a certain term, he then jokingly says he thought it was code for gay, but now knows that's not true.
  • Diane states she kicked her husband out of the house because he couldn't keep his hands to himself (referring to other women) and thus she's now raising Abby by herself.
  • A man who John chases through a subway station isn't a terrorist as suspected, but drops apparently stolen DVDs or something similar from his jacket.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • In 1959, young Lucinda hears voices and appears quite disturbed. When told to contribute a drawing of her prediction of the future for a time capsule, she quickly scribbles seemingly random numbers on a piece of paper. After her teacher takes that away from her, Lucinda briefly appears at the capsule burying ceremony, but then disappears, only to be discovered by her teacher inside a closed closet (looking quite scared/disturbed), having scratched the door hard enough to leave her fingers bloody.
  • We see a male stranger watching the time capsule unearthing (from a distance).
  • John discovers the code in Lucinda's number sequences, and that includes a reference to 9/11 and the 2,996 lives lost. We then see various photos of other catastrophes over the years (the only victims that are seen are in closed body bags -- briefly viewed).
  • John worries when he realizes that Lucinda's numbers predict a calamity the following day that will claim 81 lives.
  • Two strangers pull up in a car, Caleb is drawn over to them, and one hands him a black stone. When John sees this from inside the house, he races out, but the strangers leave before he gets there.
  • John gets out of his car that's stuck in a traffic jam. Just as he starts to talk to a cop on the scene, that man panics and runs off, with John turning to see a large passenger jet approaching too low and at a bad angle. The plane then crashes short of the airport, its wing hitting first, followed by the fuselage and a tremendous explosion. John then runs into the fiery debris and a person engulfed in flames runs past him. Others are seen on fire, and some try to run from part of the plane that then explodes again, engulfing them in a massive fireball. More are seen on fire, and John pulls one person from what's left of the burning fuselage. All of this is presented and shot in a very realistic and thus disturbing fashion, and closed body bags are later seen on the TV news that reports 81 people perished in the crash.
  • We see a stranger outside the house at night, and then a close-up of his feet crossing Caleb's bedroom floor, as we hear whispering voices in the room. That man then points toward a round window through which a frightened Caleb peers out to see the entire landscape ablaze, including animals running through while on fire. We then see an exterior view of the house also on fire, but after Caleb screams and John runs to him, the scene has returned to normal.
  • We see more strangers in the woods outside John's home.
  • We hear that 178 people will die in New York, and thus John goes there to try to warn everyone in the exact spot. We also hear that the national threat level has been elevated. When John gets there, he tries to warn a cop, but then flees when other authorities start to move in his direction. He ends up down in the subway station where he spots a suspicious man who flees (and knocks others aside), with John giving chase, both through the station and a subway train. Cops then join the chase, with some aiming their guns at John, but an approaching subway train derails and careens down the tunnel toward the station. When it gets there, it smashes into pillars, people and a stationary subway train, mowing down and killing or wounding many people and causing a great deal of properly damage. Above ground, the survivors are partially covered in white dust (purposefully reminiscent of the aftermath of 9/11), and the entire scene is presented in a graphically realistic fashion, thus making it potentially more disturbing than usual.
  • Diane talks of her mom always telling her the day she (Diane) would die, and that's fast approaching.
  • The strangers show up and slowly approach a car where Caleb and Abbie are waiting for their parents. The kids become scared as the figures approach and the whispering voices start. When Abby opens a door, Caleb freaks out and starts blowing the car's horn, thus alerting their parents who come racing out. John spots one disappearing into the woods and gives chase, with flashlight and handgun in hand. He then finds one, standing with his back to John who aims his gun at him. The figure then slowly turns around, opens his mouth, and intense light is let out, temporarily blinding John.
  • John and Diane discover that the next disaster prediction will involve "everyone else," and John is freaked out when he discovers that Caleb has drawn the same Biblical Ezekiel drawing earlier seen in Lucinda's trailer (that the boy didn't see).
  • Two cars nearly hit Diane and the kids in her car as she speeds down the road.
  • After the appearance of the Emergency Broadcast system on TV, various people panic, first at a gas station, and later in a major city, all pertaining to a pending major catastrophe.
  • When a mother drives through a red light in pursuit of her kid, a large truck smashes into her car in the intersection, resulting in a bad crash that leaves her mortally wounded (we see a little blood). Paramedics later try to use a defibrillator on her, but to no avail.
  • SPOILER ALERT: Burning hot solar flares quickly travel through and across a city (and presumably the world), instantly incinerating the entire place (and presumably killing millions if not billions of people).
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • John retrieves and readies a handgun in case he'll need it.
  • John aims his handgun at one of the strangers, but no shots are fired.
  • During a panic, we see some struggling followed by a cop firing some warning shots into the air with his handgun.
  • John drives while holding his handgun on the steering wheel.
  • John holds his gun on one of the strangers, but his son tells him to stop.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "I think sh*t just happens," "That is some very deep sh*t," "A really sh*tty joke," "Okay, you're officially scaring the sh*t out of me," "Are you deaf?" "What the hell is this?" "I kinda freaked out on you," "You want some of this?" and "Are you insane?"
  • Yelling "You want some of this?" to a stranger who's disappeared into the woods, John bashes a baseball bat against a tree.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • Grace jokingly surprises/scares John from behind.
  • Some deer suddenly run behind John in the woods.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • An extreme amount of suspenseful and ominous music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 4 "s" words, 3 damns, 1 hell, 3 uses of "Oh my God" and 2 uses of "Oh God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • John's associate tries to fix him up with his (unseen) sister-in-law, referring to her as "P.H. Double Ds."
  • Diane states she kicked her husband out of the house because he couldn't keep his hands to himself (referring to other women) and thus she's now raising Abby by herself.
  • John showers, but we only see his bare back.
  • Diane shows a little cleavage as she climbs into bed with her daughter to comfort her.
  • SPOILER ALERTS: The "flesh" of the strangers disintegrates into the air, revealing some sort of translucent "light" beings that appear to be nude (in human form), but no genitalia is present (although non-realistic bare butts are).
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • After young Lucinda goes missing, we might see her distraught parents at the school as others look for her.
  • We learn that John's wife/Caleb's mother is dead, and later learn that she perished in a fire.
  • Caleb watches an old video of his late mom singing to him (as a younger child in bed).
  • We hear that John is estranged from his pastor father.
  • Caleb becomes increasingly concerned about his dad who appears dazed and distraught about what's occurred (in particular, having witness a plane crash and its fiery aftermath).
  • Diane states she kicked her husband out of the house because he couldn't keep his hands to himself (referring to other women) and thus she's now raising Abby by herself.
  • Diane states that her father is dead, following her mother's death.
  • John comments on the day of his wife's death, and that he felt nothing supernatural - while at a different location -- at the exact moment of her passing. He also states she died of smoke inhalation in a fire, and then adds that if he had Lucinda's list at the time, he could have saved his wife's life.
  • As John and Diane enter her mom's long-abandoned trailer home in the woods, Diane states she hasn't been there since she was nine when she and her dad had to i.d. her mom's body after she overdosed when Diane was just 9.
  • John opens a never-opened birthday gift from his late wife, revealing a locket showing a picture of them and Caleb with the inscription that they'll be together forever.
  • Diane takes Caleb with her and Abby, hoping to get to safety and thinking that John has become unhinged. Accordingly, John worries about his son, while Diane worries about Abby when the strangers drive off in her car with the kids.
  • John worries about his son's safety, and must then contend with the prospect of never seeing him again (and vice-versa).
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • John's comment that they can't be sure where Caleb's mother is (after death).
  • The notion of whether things randomly occur or behave in a predetermined manner.
  • The notion of numerology and that people see what they want to see in the examination of numbers.
  • The film's religious metaphors and symbolism.
  • VIOLENCE
  • John gets out of his car that's stuck in a traffic jam. Just as he starts to talk to a cop on the scene, that man panics and runs off, with John turning to see a large passenger jet approaching too low and at a bad angle. The plane then crashes short of the airport, its wing hitting first, followed by the fuselage and a tremendous explosion. John then runs into the fiery debris and a person engulfed in flames runs past him. Others are seen on fire, and some try to run from part of the plane that then explodes again, engulfing them in a massive fireball. More are seen on fire, and John pulls one person from what's left of the burning fuselage. All of this is presented and shot in a very realistic and thus disturbing fashion, and closed body bags are later seen on the TV news that reports 81 people perished in the crash.
  • We hear that 178 people will die in New York, and thus John goes there to try to warn everyone in the exact spot. We also hear that the national threat level has been elevated. When John gets there, he tries to warn a cop, but then flees when other authorities start to move in his direction. He ends up down in the subway station where he spots a suspicious man who flees (and knocks others aside), with John giving chase, both through the station and a subway train. Cops then join the chase, with some aiming their guns at John, but an approaching subway train derails and careens down the tunnel toward the station. When it gets there, it smashes into pillars, people and a stationary subway train, mowing down and killing or wounding many people and causing a great deal of properly damage. Above ground, the survivors are partially covered in white dust (purposefully reminiscent of the aftermath of 9/11), and the entire scene is presented in a graphically realistic fashion, thus making it potentially more disturbing than usual.
  • John breaks some glass to enter Caleb's school to look for a clue.
  • When a mother drives through a red light in pursuit of her kid, a large truck smashes into her car in the intersection, resulting in a bad crash that leaves her mortally wounded (we see a little blood). Paramedics later try to use a defibrillator on her, but to no avail.
  • During a panic, we see some struggling followed by a cop firing some warning shots into the air with his handgun.
  • SPOILER ALERT: Burning hot solar flares quickly travel through and across a city (and presumably the world), instantly incinerating the entire place (and presumably killing millions if not billions of people).



  • Reviewed March 16, 2009 / Posted March 20, 2009

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