Movies You Aught Not Watch is Nick Rogers’ weekly, alphabetical look back at the 52 worst films of 2000 to 2009.
Even for a critic against spoiling films, public service trumps professional courtesy. Read the plot of The Forgotten and realize 2009’s Knowing took a similarly ill-advised anticlimactic, idiotic leap into Shyamalan-ian insanity, with a dash of religious fundamentalism.
One can only hope Earth’s final hours aren’t as interminable as this rapture wish fulfillment, in which destruction sequences distract from doltishness. Only the senior pyrotechnics foreperson earns his keep.
Nicolas Cage turns in another performance worthy of a YouTube compilation of awful moments. He’s a college professor whose son, after opening a time capsule at his school, finds a sheet of coded numbers revealing dates, coordinates and casualties of every major global disaster since 1959. The catch: Future dates on the calendar are rapidly approaching.
Knowing could’ve achieved the pop-culture poetry of unexpected heroism in Unbreakable or even the persistent paranoia of Arlington Road. Instead, a dopey script, Marco Beltrami’s intrusive score (like Bernard Herrmann on Ritalin) and an infuriatingly lazy leading man sink it.
A ballyhooed plane-crash sequence dazzles, alarms and haunts in an immediate way that the rest of the film cannot. Only Cage in full paycheck-collecting mega-thriller mode could trample such an intense-stress payoff. It’s not long before he confuses turmoil for jutted hands and a raised voice in his most painfully empty performance yet.
For all its thunderous effects, Knowing never unnerved, settling for faux-desolation before an emotionally bogus resolution. It debated randomness versus determinism, but its stupidity proved its definite determination to waste its audience’s time.