Sometimes even movie critics can be prophets. We don’t do things in biblical proportion or anything close, but often prescience in the realm of mystical movies is a given.
I skipped the critic’s screening of Knowing and caught Duplicity instead. I did so knowing I’d hate Knowing, a movie about prophecies ensconced in a bunch of numbers.
Turns out I was right — way right.
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To begin with, the downside of Knowing is way down: six writers, a worn end-of-the-world theme, Nicolas Cage — need I go on? The fact that it topped last weekend’s box-office chart is a better indication of how bad Knowing’s competition is than the quality of this film. Though I will say Duplicity is a pretty good movie.
Mid-Knowing I found myself longing to slip into the theater next door and catch Duplicity again.
In the 1950s, a little girl and her grade-school class are involved in a time capsule project. The kids are all supposed to draw some nice picture of what the future will look like in 50 years then put it into the canister.
The little girl is creepy and creeped out and fills her paper with numbers. Both sides. Numbers in rows without spaces. Out of time and not quite done, she gets locked in a closet and finishes the job with the blood of her own fingers.
Flash-forward 50 years. Cage is a depressed astrophysicist — or in some kind of career like that. He teaches. The wife is dead, he can see no rhyme, reason or meaning behind the universe. This is where we’re supposed to debate whether everything is accidental or planned by something.
The anticipated debate goes nowhere. Sort of like the plot.
Then Cage’s kid starts hearing voices after he opens the letter put in the capsule by the little girl 50 years earlier. About that point I started hearing voices, too.
“Go home, go home,” they said. “You’ve seen this movie before. You know how it ends. You are a prophet. Found a relig…”
Sorry. Can’t go there.
So Cage’s character — also a superb mathematician — and in between swigs of booze, starts playing with the little girl’s numbers and finds that every disaster in the past 50 years is found in her numbers.
What a surprise.
“Go,” the voices say. “Found a…”
No. No. No. But I don’t really want to finish this dreadful piece of movie making either. Director Alex Proyas is most famous for doing The Crow. That film was good, but everything he’s done since — gratefully not very much — has been crap.
This is low-temperature horror with lots of noisy scenes and some creepy stuff but not enough to warrant a couple of hours of my life. The effects at the end — however — are superb but waiting two hours to catch them isn’t worth the time investment.
And is anyone acting today more boring than Nick Cage? He now has only one character with a one-note style. In a way, he fits films like this one. Cage is boring. Knowing is boring.
The voices in my head — on the other hand — were much more interesting. Or was what I heard snoring?
Mr. Movie rating: 1 star
Rated PG-13 for mature themes. Some violence. It is now playing at the Carmike 12 and at Fairchild Cinemas.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.