Knowing (2009) - Rotten Tomatoes


Knowing (2009)



Critic Consensus: Knowing has some interesting ideas and a couple good scenes, but it's weighted down by its absurd plot and over-seriousness.

Knowing Photos

Movie Info

A time capsule containing a cryptic message about the coming apocalypse sends a concerned father on a race to prevent the horrific events from unfolding as predicted in this sci-fi thriller directed by Alex Proyas (Dark City) and starring Nicolas Cage. 1958: As the dedication ceremony for a newly constructed elementary school gets under way, a time capsule containing student drawings of the future is buried on the grounds and scheduled to be unearthed on the school's 50th anniversary. Instead of submitting a drawing, however, one little girl scribbles a series of seemingly random numbers on her paper before it is buried. Fifty years later, the time capsule is unearthed for a new generation of students to examine. Young Caleb Koestler (Chandler Canterbury) is one of those students. The mysterious sequence of numbers falling into his possession, Caleb takes the paper to his father, Professor John Koestler (Cage), for examination. Studying the numbers, Professor Koestler soon discovers that they aren't random at all, but an encoded message containing the precise dates, death tolls, and coordinates of every major disaster since the time capsule was buried. Not only that, but the document also indicates that there will be three more such events, the last of which indicates a doomsday scenario that appears directly tied to Professor Koestler and Caleb. His desperate plea to authorities falling on deaf ears, Professor Koestler realizes that his only hope for preventing more lives from being lost is to take personal action. Though the author of the prophecies is no longer living, Professor Koestler is eventually able to track down her daughter Diana Wayland (Rose Byrne), and granddaughter Abby, who reluctantly agree to aid in the investigation. As the final date on the list draws near, Professor Koestler enters into a frantic race against time to prevent destruction on a global scale, in the process realizing that in order to save millions of lives, he may have to make the ultimate sacrifice. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

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Nicolas Cage
as John Koestler
Chandler Canterbury
as Caleb Koestler
Rose Byrne
as Diana Wayland
Lara Robinson
as Lucinda Embry/Abby Wayland
Ben Mendelsohn
as Phil Beckman
Nadia Townsend
as Grace Koestler
Alethea McGrath
as Miss Taylor (2009)
Danielle Carter
as Priscilla Taylor
Alan Hopgood
as Reverend Koestler
Joshua Long Gone
as Younger Caleb
David Lennie
as Principal Clark (1959)
Tamara Donnellan
as Lucinda's Mother
Travis Waite
as Lucinda's Father
Carolyn Shakespeare-Allen
as Principal (2009)
Joanna Hunt-Prokhovnik
as Carlpool Mate 1
Jean-Michael Tan
as Carpool Mate 2
Rody Claude
as Patrolman
Nathaniel Kiwi
as Paramedic
Blair Venn
as Paramedic
Alyssa McClelland
as Flight Attendant
Ra Chapman
as Jessica
Benita Collings
as John's Mother
D.G. Maloney
as The Stranger
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Critic Reviews for Knowing

All Critics (184) | Top Critics (49)

... I was dozing off...

September 12, 2017 | Rating: F | Full Review…

Knowing feels like a bunch of cool ideas that were strewn about a table, picked up, shoved together, tied up with duct tape and, somehow, managed to stay working for the ride.

August 14, 2009 | Rating: B
Top Critic

Rather like watching an intricately arranged set of dominos starting to topple. That's neat. I didn't see that one coming, you think, as yet another train carriage joins the pile-up.

April 3, 2009 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

The final message may be trite, even saccharine, but Knowing would be pretty well unbearable without it. Proyas has made a truly haunting and terrifying film.

April 3, 2009 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

As well as being perversely pessimistic for a blockbuster, it's rendered tedious by a dense plot and lifeless characters. Even M Night Shyamalan would have done a better job. How dare such an empty film ask us to endure many realistic scenes of carnage?

March 31, 2009 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…

Mixing Spielbergian child-like wonder, disaster movie spectacle and the cod-religious silliness of M Night Shyamalan's 'Signs'. The premise is compelling, but the execution is over-cooked.

March 27, 2009 | Rating: 3/6 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Knowing


Enjoyable Science Fiction thriller, Knowing managed to be a more impressive film than what I'd initially thought. Although not a great movie, this is nonetheless a good film, well worth your time. The film had a very good concept, which kept me entertained, however at times I did feel that there were aspects of the film could have been improved upon. Halfway through the film, the film seems to lose its vigor, and in turn, the vibe of the film sort of falters a bit, and instead of being a truly memorable, standout feature, it lingers on as a good, entertaining picture that never realizes its ambition of being a thought provoking, truly interesting film. I mean, the film is good, and it's entertaining, but it could have been so much more as well. Director Alex Proyas, who has experience in the Sci Fi genre, helms the project, and through his lens, he captures a good atmosphere that is engaging, but does lack in terms of unrealized potential. I was hoping for something truly great with this film, but as a whole, it's a good affair, one that is one of the better of recent Nicholas Cage films. If you can forget the film's flaws, you'll like it for what it is, just don't expect a truly grand sci fi epic, as the film leaves a bit to be desired. Proyas has directed better movies, but Knowing for what it is, is worth seeing if you enjoy mindless entertainment, and it's far better than what you might think. Although not a great movie, this film definitely doesn't deserve the negativity it has received. Go into the film with an open mind, and you might enjoy it.

Alex roy
Alex roy

Super Reviewer

John Koestler: The numbers are the key to everything.  "Knowing is Everything..." By no means is Knowing a perfect or great film, but it isn't nearly as bad as everyone claims it to be. In fact, I've always enjoyed this movie. Sure it's silly in ways, sure the ending leaves a lot to be desired, but come on this is a visual masterpiece and an extremely interesting take on the whole doomsday, apocalypse prophesy. There's a lot of people out there that just won't like it no matter what because of Nicholas Cage and the obsession that goes along with hating the guy. Is he great in this movie? No, but he isn't bad either, and movies like this don't call for amazing acting. They call for silliness from the actors, so Cage fits the bill perfectly.  50 years prior to the events that unfold an elementary school buried a time capsule to be dug up 50 years into the future. The children of the school were to draw a picture of what they thought the future would look like and then 50 years later, the future kids would get to see them. One girl, Lucinda, didn't draw a picture. Instead, she wrote endless, "random" numbers. When the capsule is dug up a little boy named Caleb gets Lucinda's numbers. He takes it home and his father who is a M.I.T. professor decides to try to decode the number sequences. When he does, he is left with startling information. Whenever this movie is brought up around me, it is constantly ridiculed for its stupidity and silliness. When in fact this one of the more serious doomsday movies you'll probably ever see. Silliness comes with the territory for sure though, but why is that a bad thing? It's the genre, either accept it or stop watching the movies. Like 2012, The Day After Tomorrow, and countless others; the movie is built around accepting the silly factor. Shouldn't all you of haters had learned this by now? Overall, this is an enjoyable, entertaining, and often suspenseful movie that has good pacing, amazing effects, mesmerizing cinematography, and a nice little score to boot. It's not going to change the face of cinema or anything, but as an addition to the apocalypse thriller genre;  it's one I accept with arms wide open.

Melvin White
Melvin White

Super Reviewer


A school girl puts a list of numbers into a time capsule. When the time capsule is opened 50 years later, a MIT professor discovers that the list predicted global disasters - the date, the location and number of fatalities. There are 3 future dates, but what happens when the numbers run out? Good cast, storyline and special effects. The movie is exciting and will have you on the edge of your seat until the end. The ending was very lame though. It's like A.I. good movie until the last half hour. If you like disaster and thriller movies like Unbreakable, Final Destination, Mercury, Deep Impact or A.I. you will like this movie.

Candy Rose
Candy Rose

Super Reviewer

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