Alex Proyas’s derivative sci-fi movie is a close encounter of the nerd kind, 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.

A string of numbers scribbled by an obsessive schoolgirl back in 1959 is given to the son of MIT astrophysicist Nicolas Cage, when a time capsule buried fifty years before is disinterred. Although Cage’s father is a pastor, since the death of his wife he has believed that life is just a random string of accidents. Then he finds patterns in the numbers that seem to correspond to the dates of disasters, and starts to wonder if our fates really are predetermined.

Unfortunately, consideration of these weighty issues soon gives way to what feels like an episode of ‘The Twilight Zone’ on steroids. There is hard scientific talk about unusual solar flare activity, and intimations of a global ecological disaster. But then the pale-faced ‘Whispering People’ start handing out smooth black stones, and rationality gives way to portentous religious talk about God’s prophet Ezekiel. By the time single mother Rose Byrne, daughter of the now-dead 50s schoolgirl, takes Cage and his young son to the crazy lady’s abandoned mobile home in the woods, it’s easy to predict where this is headed.

The apocalyptic images are impressive, but what do they all add up to? You may end up asking yourself, in the spirit of Erich Von Däniken, ‘Was God An Astronaut?”

By: Nigel Floyd


Release details

Rated: 15
Release date: Wednesday March 25 2009
Duration: 121 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Alex Proyas
Cast: Nicolas Cage
Rose Byrne
Chandler Canterbury
Lara Robinson
Ben Mendelsohn
D.G. Maloney
Nadia Townsend

Average User Rating

4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:67
  • 4 star:15
  • 3 star:14
  • 2 star:14
  • 1 star:0
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This movie makes you think. As for the movie maker's depiction of Ezekiel's Biblical vision, very good rendering. The scenes that include stones build up toward the final close encounter to where they are everywhere beneath Cage's feet taking on a behavior of their own were also significant in the Bible " and the rocks will cry out " I enjoyed the film, the plot heads in the right direction. From begining to end the movie was brilliant, borrowing biblical inclusions muled the movie story line forward and had me captivated to think " what if "

Personally, i thought the film was a triumph. Im in a media studies lesson at school studying this film. Reading some of these comments upsets me slightly. i thought the plot was original and i love anything to do with Exogenesis and "new beginnings" This film clearly gives that idea out. Agreeeably, Cage's acting skills do slightly falter on occasion but i think thats the same with many of his films, especially World Trade Centre. This is why i had deducted a star. If it wasnt for Cage, the folm would recieve 5 stars.

I'm watching it again now for the probably 20th time. I actually really like this film, you don't have to be religious to like or understand it, the plane and train crashes are spectacular however I don't think it would happen like that but still the scenes are impressive, I always laugh at the plane crash because Mt Cage is screaming at a bloke who was just in the plane crash and on fire which might hurt a bit and he is screaming at him to do what I don't know, it is a really curiouse part. But anyway loved it.

This is a truly great movie. The whole story is very good and is gripping and is a bit mysterious. The ending is emotional, for a moment I tought that they were the 4 riders of the apocalypse, but then I saw those other "flying ships". Great movie!

Just watched the rented DVD. The film was disappointing. It didn't live up to the expectations after watching the trailer. The storyline started well with predicting incidents but the ending was rubbish. Even Nicholas Cage couldn't save the film (and he is a good actor)

Without a shadow of a doubt this was the worst film I have had the misfortune to sit down and watch. Complete nonsense from start to finish. Its like someone had an idea for a movie but without any idea of where or how to end it so fell back on the old Alien Cliche. And why were the aliens modelled on Rydian from X Factor, Pointless American Drivel. I'd guess there was some originality in the script. The hero didn't end up saving the world from solar destruction. Instead the Rydian Aliens saved a few kids and dumped them on a new planet full of cornfields. You'd have thought that after that all that time looking after the kids and then saving them from certain death the least they could have done was to give them a house to live in.

I personally think the film was really good apart from some low quality acting from cage and his new girl friend. People seem to be missing the point and take the film too seriously, Afterall it is only a fictional film and nothing more. This film makes people come to their own conclusions and I had my own, as did my wife. Whether your a Christian or not it has to make you wonder what life is all about! Doesn't it?

Probably a bit too overrated, although some good ideas and a fantastic ending. Typical of most people to want a happy ending where everything is great! Dissapointing to see that most people didn't have the concentration span to spot multiple UFO's arriving on the new planet. Good religious conotations, e.g Noah's Ark and Adam and Eve although slightly ridiculous frequency of distasters and links to the main characters. One to watch for the ending alone.

Only in America, what a load of codswallop. The storyline was predictable and weak, full of quasi religious undertones (and overtones) the acting was putrid. This movie was totally unconvincing from start to finish. As you would expect the special effects were brilliant, but who would watch a film just for special effects?. This is a film made by the stupid for the stupid. Do yourself a favour and save your money.

for the first hour or so i was absoloutely gripped to this film. the intricate story line, mixed with the dark and almost gothic style that brought a new side to the usual 'sci-fi' style. however, the ending was a complete joke. i understand some people saying they enjoyed it - and thats fair enough, but for the writers to dump the whole story line and go: "brilliant. aliens explain evertything" was the complete kop out in my view. it was SUCH a dissapointment.

Spoiler Alert*** I would like to say this movie did hit up in my top 10 (end of the world) type of movies. And for the idiots who didn't understand this movie here's the simple breakdown of the key parts people didn't quite understand or just didn't watch mainly the ending part there wasn't only 2 kids there was multiple ships, because you cant just breed 2 kids and not have inbreeding so they had to get more kids. They took them young due to start over fresh without all the bs the world was in today Just basically wing-it from the start. Just like Adam and Eve. This movie was like a Noah's ark story with a more believable story than the bible. I didn't say I don't believe there's a god just I there is something greater just everyone has there own depiction. I guess people just want to see a face and make money off donations. Anyways this movie is a must see on a suspense scale from 1 - 10 I'd say it's about a 7. As of the story/plot it's about a 9 ( the CGI couldve been a little better at the very end made me thought they were in toonworld lol)

What a load of typical American dross, the film was way too dark in parts and as for Nicolas Cage, well he mumbled only slightly less than Christian Bale in Terminator Salvation.

The film was fab!!!! The plane crash is the most amazing part in the film. i wasn't able to close my mouth. i had to go back and watch it again it was spectaculer plus the train crash AWSOME!!!! The strange people in the darkness also known as the whisper people in the film really do create the suspense. The begining was very interesting...and once you see the numbers you feel so into the film. All of it is absoloutly outstanding, untill you come to the point when you find out that they are aliens, well that is ok but the ending was terriable and really dissapointing. I was really looking forward to the ending because everything else had been just great. These aliens seemed to be so advanced with there technology, why could they save everybody on earth or stop the sun's flare from destroying the earth? just because these kids can hear some voices in their heads. And seeing them not leting the dad go with him was really upsetting. The ending could of been alright but they just had to put an adam and eve shot in the end. WHY?WHY?WHY? it totally killed the ending.

It was not only two children taken away as some people here perceived. You see many lighting alien vehicles lifting up

Just watched this movie tonight and loved it! I did not expect the ending but it was a great twist, if Nick had gone with Caleb then that would have made for a boring end but when he was saying goodbye it was so sad and made for such a good film, everyone in my family agreed that it was the best movie we had seen in a long time. I don't understand why people think the ending was bad as i think if it had been how people wanted it too be then it would have been extremely boring and not emotional at all, i loved everything about the film. Absoloutely amazing.

Bought Time Out yesterday, read the review for this one, thought might be worth a watch, went to the video shop and got it... really not too bad until about 3/4 way through but you really should have prepared me for the fact that this is clearly a Scientology propaganda film... drivel by the time it gets to the end... to those who wonder about the "amazing" combination of science, religion and action, get yourselves down to the local Scientology meeting, you've found your calling.

**Spoiler Content Ahead - Expect Delays** My favorite part was the plane crash, although being as it may, it portrayed my absolute greatest fear. Aye, the fear of witnessing twisted metal spiraling into its impending doom and exploding into a burst of flame is very lovely thing to witness. But I'm very glad they did in such a way that I was glad to be tormented whilst they destroyed the aircraft. Anyway, as comments said before me, they have noted that 'Knowing' had patterns derived from other movies with end of the world plots and aliens. To be honest, however, what these past movies had captured before was what set them apart from others and thus made them into such classics. I found that this movie, shall I say, over emulated these other movies and interwove way too many common themes? Since I do enjoy developing stories and creating original ideas, I found that they butchered themselves in the writing department with an overflow of cliché ideas. So, my point being, it needed to be more original. The most magical moment was the ending. With the easily noted CGI effects and the children giggling in the wheat fields of some planet in the far end of the universe, how could anyone decline its presence on film? *cough* But besides what I thought was terrible, my surprisingly distant related cousin, Nicholas Cage, did a rather good job acting and I did enjoy many elements that occurred during the movie. So, it wasn't all bad. By the way, can someone get me the dentist of that alien that blinded Nicholas Cage? Look at them pearly whites!

This movie was ridiculous! i just went to all that suspense for aliens to be the answer to all the numbers1111 that is bull crap!!!! im so frusturated right now! i cant beleiv this crap! that was a waste of life!!!! why! why! why!

I am extremely disappointed with many comments about this film: particularly those people opposed to what they perceive as a religious angle. Knowing follows in a ling line of excellent science fiction film dealing with "end of the world" scenarios. Inevitibly these types of fims (at least the best of them) address metaphysical or spiritual issues (we are speaking here about the demise of humanity, after all). This film leaves enough to the imagination for the viewer to apply his or her own beliefs to the ending. Religion is at least partly a cultural phenomenon. Whether a Buddhist, Christian, Jew, Muslim, etc., I believe all religions have the common thread of attempting to understand what lies beyond this life and dealing with realities outside our own. To me, science describes the mechanizs of how the Universe works. Religion approaches the "why" of the universe. They are truly different sides of the same coin. I believe this film joins the spiritual with the scientific very well. That is what attracted me to the film. I think that many people were put off because such a film provides a modern context within which give the tales in scripture believability to people living in a modern environment. People ambivalent about religion are uncomfortable about this. That is too bad because they are missing much. A scientific life without spiritualism is quite empty. Ask a believer like Einstein. he would attest to this.

This movie made my clothes smell! If the aliens were so powerful to see into the future and travel between galaxies, then why didn't they just shield the Earth or turn off the flare.If they cared so much about life, why did they let six billion people fry to save two kids. Who do the kids' kids procreate with? No wonder it is out in DVD already!

I thought this movie was unique although the ending was not so great thats was the only thing i did not like about this movie. but nicklas cage did a fantastic job on the charter he played. so i give this movie must see

Okay, well I've read some of these comments and I have to say, some of you are idiots. Those of you who say the movie's ending was terrible and didn't make sense I would like to let you know, if you possessed a brain you'd realize that the ending was beautiful for the way the director melded religion, science, and spiritual beliefs in one movie. I would like to take into consideration that there are many not-so-intelligent people in this world, but even with that said, the movie was spectacular visually and mentally. Not a big fan of Nicholas Cage, but I have to give it to the man, much better than Mark Walberg in "The Happening". And for those of you who still disagree with the opinion that the ending of the movie was brilliant, i would like to tell you one thing. I am 14 years old and I could figure out the plot and understand the ending.

*SPOILER ALERTS* There's actually people who do that God and his angels are exterrestrial- that alien is the divine.. and they can tie a lot of Biblical passages and elements of the Bible together to support that theory. The loosely touched one was the Ezekial notion. If you care to research, there's a quite a few. But with any theory, if you believe it enough, you can find evidence in anything and make it tie together. I thought the movie was excellent because it tied multiple elements together - science, religion, action, suspense ; however I must agree with others that they needed a different actor besides Cage. He is too predictable and drawn out. Also, I agree with the comment that a plot gap was him figuring out the message but not being saved. If it was destined that the child was to be saved, it would of happened regardless. I guess you couldn't make a movie just off of that alone, however. The purpose of his decoding I believe was for him to meet that women and the other child, but besides that, null.

I don't realize the stupidity of people untill situations like these bring it out in the open. WHAT WERE YOU EXPECTING IN AN APOCALYPTIC MOVIE? I found it hilarious how many people were either confused or found the ending to be terrible. My favorite quote from this comment page is "When the plot was discovered the entire cinema groaned." First off, WOW. If you couldn't figure out the plot of this story within the first 10 seconds of the freakin trailer you must be either mentally challenged or have failed the 1st grade. Look. The old woman, the 'prophet', was predicting events that would happen, were people really expecting the entire chain of events to break off for one point and have Nich pull something out of his arse and save the world? The aliens, I found that they tied the alien and bible references together masterfully, most directors may shy away from producing such a theory in a film. Acting wise, I believe Nich did a fine normal job for him, not always my favorite actor but I usually enjoy the movies he is in. Im not really sure the name of the 'prophet's' daughter but I found myself nearly screaming at my screen because of how many hollywood mistakes she made in the movie. Basically like when you are watching a horror movie where the victims walk around in complete darkness with no freakin defense. I actually laughed so hard when she died and I was overjoyed. I have seen a lot of hate comments about how the ending was bad, I challenge anyone to come up with a better ending. Have everyone just die, including the kids?...No because that would defeat the purpose of even having the numbers. There is no better way I would have ended the movie. Judging by the grammar and the shortness of most people's comments on the end they are probably ignorant to all of the biblical references present. The one and only problem I had with the ending was the fact that it really didn't matter that Nich figured out the coords because he wasn't getting taken anyway. The aliens kidnapped the children without Nich even being there, I found that to be a type of gap in the plot. All in all I enjoyed the film and found many clever references with a neat storyline. Amazing special effects and a GOOD ENDING. :)

for those saying the story was rubbish, they didn't call it a sci-fi movie (based off a sci-fi book) for nothing. it's just a movie - can't expect everything you see in a movie to be real can you?? The special effects were great and there was quite a bit of reference to religion. At the very end, it shows references to the very first chapter in Genesis (from the Bible).

I loved this movie too and completely agree with Andrew and Informer's reviews. I also wondered what movie were the people watching to those who didn't like it. From their comments, it is obvious they dIdn't predict the whisperers being aliens ( obvious) or understand the that solar flares can anielate a planet, and the Adam & Eve reference at the end. The fleeting Ezekial reference is a reference to how Ezekial in the bible is taken by God without dying by going up in the sky. Some people think is could have been aliens even back then. Definitely a GREAT Sci Fi with GREAT disaster effects and yes, it helps if you already understand that solar flares could indeed end life as we know it (not to mention interfere with satellite communication devices - - already happening) AND I LOVE everything Nicolas Cage is in, so of course that was a bonus for me.

very disappointed! good effects in the disaster scenes but overall it was boring!

Okay, so I thought that the trailer looked damn good, but what they dont mention in the trailer, is the ending. (which is clearly where the whole movie unraveled, in story line, and CGI). This movie was terrible! It had a good 1st half, but the story started out semi-realistic, and then ended up being about aliens!!! So what if its sci-fi! I wouldn't have bothered watching it if I knew it was a mix of better sci-fi's. All in all, not a great movie, and was not worth the time or effort.

The question that really tortures me after this movie: was it sponsored by the creationists? And this overwrites it all: clichéd dialogues, clichéd scenes, a too old, too worn out Nicolas Cage with his too unconvincing over-dramatic stray puppy look (maybe if we hadn’t seen it in the every other movie he has ever made?) Yes, in the end as the world was burning down alive (oops, am I not supposed to give away this part of an apocalyptic film?) I couldn’t help laughing. Ridiculous. Waste of time. That’s my verdict.

I loved this movie. Saw it and couldn't stop thinking about it. I ws full on but the plane and train had to be the best bits to me. Didn't understand the ending and was stupid but a great movie all round!!

WHAT A MOVIE! Ok, this film is designed to make you think. A "what if it COULD happen?" scenario. The film is tailored for those of us out there with an open mind to possible scenario's. Yes, it did go into some "science jargon" as someone previously wrote, but they failed to mention that the "jargon" actually made sense and applied to the movie. Film lovers out there with a brain, I 100% reccommend this movie. It's based on science fact mixed with hollywood glam. "the aliens" pat of the film. And the "religious" side others have referred to is a nice twist. And really, it only refers to this at the end - which by the way was spectacular. It's nice to see hollywood churn out a film thats different from the rest. In the real world, The family doesn't go home all singing and dancing to a "well done, you saved the world" ending. This film is one for the DVD collection. Outstanding.

The plot toward the end did not make much sense to me. However, I do like the not-so-typical-Nick-save-the-world ending. It is still a bit corny but I do like the surpise ending.

Had the makings of a very good movie. Very good special effects and a good story. Unfortunately the last 20 minutes or so made me laugh out loud at how ridiculous it was.

I really don't know what movie some of these people have seen, but it certainly does not sound like “Knowing�. I thought that it was an entertaining, sometimes unforgiving gruesome, clever and different take on a classic sci-fi story. A thoroughly enjoyable film from start to finish (yes I said to finish because although quite sci-fi'esque, what were people expecting, it is after all a sci-fi movie). OK, so the writer borrows from numerous other successful sci-fi movies for some of its character’s relationships and the plots of the film (I wont say what bits because that might spoil the movie for those who have not seen it or know the plot), but AI, Signs, The Day After Tomorrow, Contact and ET were all represented, but offered with a slightly different take. The rawness of the violence at times was a little difficult to watch (but that's just me) because the way it was shot pulled no punches, when people died you saw them exploding in a mess of blood or being engulfed in flames, but this was such a small part of the movie that it was soon forgotten and I was on the edge of my seat again looking to see what happened next. Great movie. Not an all time favourite or a classic, but a damn good evening out.

Knowing is quite a impressive and entertaining little thriller but with a pointless and terrible ending to the film.

absolutely stupid ending.... ruined what could have been a good movie. i feel dumb after watching it

Brilliant film UNTIL 20mins from the end. The ridiculous ending was so bad it ruined the whole film. The intrigue and suspense built all the way through the film and when the plot was revealed everyone in the cinema groaned...some even walked out. Shockingly bad. Cannot believe Nicholas Cage read to the end of the script when he accepted this role.

Wow im a tall 14 yr old and one piece of advice when ur watching it....dont watch it unless you have no fear im still shaking. It is a film though and it had me gripped till the end where it got abit silly but still best scary film ive seen in years.

Good film,brilliant effects,dont know what to think of the ending tho,but i would still see it again.

This is one of the best films I have seen for a long time. It has depth and some spirituality unlike the usual transparent titillating violence that seems to prevail. It poses many questions and is not necessarily a 'religious' film. It only seems to be religious to those people who seem think there nothing in life other than what you see. I though the acting was terrific and the story line excellent. I would certainly recommend it. It is not for you if you prefer play station game like films. Well done Nicholas Cage.

The worst film I have ever seen. I don't know how Nic Cage would put his name to such dribble .

What could have been an interesting movie about the power of mathematical predictions became what I have concluded to be propaganda from the evangelical lobby in Hollywood. The characters at MIT are potrayed as morons all while Cage gives his 'concerned look' for over half the film. The daughter of Lucinda is a non-character and Abby is there only to complete the picture of Adam and Eve and the garden of Eden. The alien idea could have actually worked, had it not been in the blatant, tasteless religious context (they even spawned wings in the end). The object of this movie was to strip the scientific explanation for things of credibility while maintaining that "science" and theology can co-exist. The film also seemed to be a drama-horror-thriller-action-suspense movie with sweet special effects as to invigorate young audiences into thinking it's hella-awesome and that "it makes total sense! the holy bible is proved by Nicolas Cage's MIT math skillzzz and there is higher power (which for some reason sits idly while the earth burns and saves just 2 kids who will populate a new world [talk about a really small gene pool])

Although I think that Nicholas Cage is an exceptionally talented actor, this movie was awful. No, wait, what I meant to say was that the ENDING was awful. The movie itself was very entertaining and kept you on the edge of your seat. However, the aliens at the end were a joke. The movie made you think that it would end in some psychological and intelligent conclusion, whereas the actual ending completely destroyed the movie. With a different ending, this movie could have been one of the greatest releases in 2009. If you enjoy disappointment, I would recommend this movie.

This is the worst movie in the history in the world. The people who made it should be punished. I actually laughed when abbys mom died. The beginning was godd but the rest was horrible Dont wast your money, i think i got to go see an other movie to get this one out of my head.

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