I saw Knowing this evening. Minor spoilers ahead.
It made no sense. At all. I don’t really mind this, as it didn’t take itself very very seriously, but it’s a shame there weren’t fewer ‘wait, what?’ moments. I was actually more bothered by the gratuitous scenes of mass fatalities: the camera went out of its way to show the realistic, violent deaths of many, many people. I’ve no problem with this kind of scene generally – if it’s part of the plot, sure. But in this case the deaths weren’t part of the plot: the event itself was necessary, but the grotesque embellishments were not, and were too close to reality for comfortable viewing. The film was obviously intended as a silly sci-fi blockbuster, and showing how people actually die in plane / train crashes didn’t fit the style. I don’t mind the implication, but I’m not sure I need to see it actually happen on-screen. Maybe that’s me, though – perhaps I’m becoming more squeamish as I get older.
As annoying was the pandering to Christianity which, as Claudia would say, made me want to pull out my eye and feed it to a dog. The whole plot is a bit…biblical…and the godless scientist is considerably less godless by the end. This isn’t too surprising, as despite being an astrophysicist he clearly can’t think for toffee1. One of the first scenes shows him describing ‘determinism’ and ‘randomness’ with all the flair and accuracy of a creationist manifesto, and eventually sinking into deep depression – in front of a class of students, no less – while describing the meaninglessness of existence. Bah. It would be silly to be irked by this standard depiction of scientists, but the line that went something like “my scientific mind tells me to completely ignore this” rankled rather. There was also something about a solar flare with a magnitude of 100 micro-teslas.
On the plus side, there were a couple of scenes that creeped the hell out of me. And I was entertained enough to want to know what happened at the end. So it wasn’t a total waste.
- note: I will actually think for toffee [↩]