Overall Impression – KNOWING retreads familiar territory in great new ways.


Who’s your main character? – John Koestler.

What’s he trying to accomplish? – Professional: figure out the mysterious numbers to prevent the disasters that they predict. Personal: get over his wife’s death and start living again. Private: accept that the nature of the universe may not be random, but predetermined.

Who’s trying to stop him? – Various antagonistic elements (John’s skepticism, the “whisperers”, even his ally Linda), though you could argue that John’s real nemesis is fate itself.

What happens if he fails? – Everyone on Earth will die.


Orphan – John has been a shut-in since his wife died. His scientific outlook has also caused him to grow distant from his pastor father.

Wanderer – Through a mixture of luck, obsessive investigation and terrifying fate, John discovers that a string of numbers written in 1959 predicts every major disaster up to the present day… including some that have yet to happen.  As John’s son encounters creepy men-in-black (the “whisperers”) and has a vision of the apocalypse, John seeks answers from Linda, the daughter of the woman who wrote the numbers.

Warrior – John fights to prevent the foretold events from occurring, all the while protecting his son from the ‘whisperers’.  When John, his son, Linda and her daughter discover that the final disaster is a solar flare that will destroy all life on Earth, John’s convinced that there must be something he can do.  He discovers more numbers, believing them to be coordinates.  He thinks they should trust the numbers, but Linda thinks it’s madness.  She grabs the kids, ultimately losing them to the whisperers and dying trying to get them back. John finds them at the coordinates, discovering that the whisperers are aliens who have chosen the kids to restart the human race.  Unfortunately, John isn’t among the chosen…

Martyr – John agrees to stay behind and die on Earth, accepting that the human race can only restart if he lets his son go.



KNOWING is one of the best sci-fi movies I’ve seen in a while, and it’s a great example of a universal premise.  Themes of logic versus faith, chaos versus fatalism (all interesting debates in and of themselves) give KNOWING a depth that makes it more than just an effects-laden flick (which it’s not).

That being said, KNOWING is far from perfect… though not in any way that ruined the experience for me.  One could criticize KNOWING for plot elements that seem ludicrous and/or illogical, but given the movie’s subject matter, I felt it only reasonable to allow a little leeway.  Besides, you’re supposed to enjoy movies like this, not analyze them.


N.B. – – KNOWING boasts one of the most jaw-dropping long takes I’ve ever seen, in the form of a harrowing plane crash across a highway. (For another great long take, check out Tony Jaa’s THE PROTECTOR, where he fights his way to a top-floor restaurant.)

– Dan Pilditch

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