Saturday, 11 September 2010
Going into Cambridge Central Library last week, I borrowed a DVD of Knowing starring Nicholas Cage and Rose Byrne.
The chilling film's premise is that a document placed into a 1959 time-capsule by a disturbed child surfaces 50 years later and contains information about events transpiring in the decades it has spent underground - and three yet to come.
Knowing is that rarest of creatures: a theologically-literate thriller for the mass-market, drawing on strands of Judaeo-Christian mysticism with an emphasis on Ezekiel's vision. It revolves around Nicholas Cage's compassionately nuanced performance as a grieving widower searching for meaning for himself and his young son, and Cage is surrounded by a strong cast at the top of their game. I wonder if Lara Robinson (picured here with director Alex Proyas) has marked a first by playing her main character, Abby Wayland, Abby's grandmother as a child, and appearing in a photo as Abby's mother?
One of the key themes is working out what matters as opposed to what is impermanent - I think my daughter latched on to this when she commented, during a key scene, that we worry about what we have and what we don't have when it could all be taken away tomorrow.
It would have been all too easy for the film to succumb to a certain preachiness that has infested modern films since An Inconvenient Truth, passing through the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still and even, for Pete's sake, St Trinian's 2: the Legend of Fritton's Gold. But Proyas ensures that acting and plot come first, and everything else falls into place, taking current concerns about the environment to a totally unexpected place.
I can safely say that it's one of the best films I've seen in years, and all for the price of a DVD loan from the library.
Click to view the theatrical trailer for Knowing
Cambridge Central Library
Cambridgeshire County Council Libraries and Information
"Plan for community trust to save libraries under threat", Chris Havergal, Cambridge News