Although made mostly of spare parts, "Knowing" is a not-bad supernatural-tinged sci-fier that has more on its mind than the run-of-the-mill effects-driven extravaganza. Absorbing and able to be taken seriously most of the way, Alex Proyas' generally somber look at a small group of people tipped off about the imminence of doomsday doesn't smoothly synthesize all its elements, and the effects could have used a budget stimulus. Genre fans always looking for something new and awesome may feel like they've seen most of this before, but the conceptual and emotional strength of Summit's Nicolas Cage starrer largely carries the day, which should spell sturdy B.O. in all markets.
The 1959-set prologue of Ryne Douglas Pearson's original story gets its hooks in by virtue of that reliable standby, a disturbingly creepy kid. Asked by their elementary school teacher to draw pictures of how they see the future to include in a time capsule, all the pupils in the Boston-area school oblige except for Lucinda (Lara Robinson), a haunted-looking child who instead covers her sheets of paper with thousands of numbers.
Come time to open the capsule 50 years later, Lucinda's inscrutable jottings land in the hands of Caleb Koestler (Chandler Canterbury), a precocious boy depressed over the recent death of his mother. Dad John (Cage), an astrophysics professor at MIT, is in the dumps himself and struggling to forge a stronger bond with his son while living at a run-down old Victorian house out in the woods.
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