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July 26, 2009
Knowing Blu-Ray Movie Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
26/3/200929/7/2009IconAlex Proyas
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
Dolby TrueHD 5.1
MNicolas Cage

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Nicolas Cage stars in Knowing.

If you like sci-fi and futuristic movies then you should be more then aware of director Alex Proyas. Over the years Alex has provided cinema goers with some wonderful films including Dark City, The Crow, and I, Robot. Knowing is his latest movie and it stars Nicolas Cage. So what's it about then...

When professor John Koestler (Nicolas Cage) stumbles on a set of coded numbers, written in 1959 and buried in a time capsule at his son’s school, he makes a startling discovery. The cryptic message predicts every major disaster of the past 50 years and holds chilling predictions about future catastrophes - the last of which hints at destruction on a global scale.

Directed by Alex Proyas this is a pretty decent sci-fi action movie with some good tension and solid action sequences. Indeed there really are some absolute standout moments in this movie the biggest being the stunning, shocking and awesome plane crash which you may have seen in the trailers. It really is horrific, but so brilliantly put together - even with some 'CG-ish' effects at times.

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Knowing on Blu-Ray looks great.
Acting across the board is fairly impressive with Nicolas Cage playing, well, a Nicolas Cage character. Surrounding support cast including Rose Byrne, Chandler Cantebury (as John's son), and Lara Robinson all put in decent enough performances

Having said that there are moments of utter stupidity... When you see the numbers 9/11/01 what comes to mind? Ohh how about that little incident in America called September 11. Why is it that such as brilliant scientist such as John needs to look that date up - hell, even I, an Australian, knows not only what happened on that date but even how many people lost their lives that day. The movies finale is also somewhat stereotypical of the genre and while I enjoyed it, some friends watching the movie found it fairly groan-worthy. I guess your ultimate opinion of this movie will be determined by how you view the final moments.

Ultimately this sci-fi/drama/horror doesn't provide anything terribly new, but it is a well directed, superb looking and sounding movie which pushes all the right buttons when required. The ending will leave you questioning some of your own beliefs on a couple of topics (to tell you what would offer some spoilers), and is certain to offer some interesting discussion with friends regarding those very issues. Knowing is well worth a look for fans of either the genre and/or Nicolas Cage.

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The plane crash sequence is intense.
If there is one aspect of this Blu-Ray release that can't be faulted it's the video transfer. Knowing is presented in the films original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and has been encoded with the AVC MPEG-4 codec. We assume this movie has been taken directly from a digital source as there isn't a single mark or blemish on the film. We do know that the film was recorded on the RED One Digital Camera (as a side note this is the same camera Michael Jackson was using to record his rehearsals for the "This is It" tour at the Staples Center before passing away - so we may see some great final Michael Jackson footage one day).

The first thing that makes you go 'wow' in this movie is the remarkably sharp satellite image during the opening credits. I don't know if they it is CG, or real satellite imagery, but it's impressive nonetheless and is the first indication of how great this transfer looks. Beyond that we have several other jaw-dropping moments including the plane crash, visions of the apocalypse, and the jaw-dropping ending this transfer is remarkably sharp.

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Scratching the numbers into the wall.
While sharp, Knowing doesn't have an overly bright and colourful look to the film besides the odd scene including the plane crash and some other events which I won't mention to save you from spoilers. Having said that, this is almost certainly intentional given the rather gloomy and foreboding subject matter. In terms of issues, forget about it. This is reference quality video transfer all the way with an ultra-clean image from start to finish.

Talk about offering up the best of both worlds. Icon has gone all out and not only provided a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, but also a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track on this disc as well. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is a higher bitrate and after some quick samples of both we decided to stick with that track due to a noticable increase in the fidelity and bass levels over the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track which lacked a bit of punch.

As a movie this is a remarkably aggressive track with some room-shaking use of the sub-woofer, and plenty of use of the surround sound channels in particular with the haunting voices heard in the heads of some of the movies characters. The plane crash is so emmersing you will really believe you are there while the deep voices of a certain character which John approaches (you'll know it when you see it) will send your sub-woofer into overdrive. This is, without a doubt, a reference quality audio track on Blu-Ray the likes of which we've rarely heard to date.

There is only one subtitle track on this disc - English SDH. We sampled this for a period of time and it contained good timing and accuracy to the dialogue on-screen.

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Nic Cage is running, but for what?
Sadly, despite being a showcase title on Blu-Ray, and with a worldwide gross of $US155 million the extras on this disc are disappointingly lacking. One audio commentary and a couple of video features are all you'll get here.

Audio Commentary with Director Alex Proyas: Australian director Alex Proyas has had several hit films over his career and this audio commentary provides a passionate and insightful look into making this movie.

Knowing All: The Making of Knowing (12:30/HD): Way too brief, but containing plenty of interviews with the filmmakers and stars. It's obviously a promotional piece, but worth a look to get some minor insight into the making of the movie with a focus on the spectacular plane crash and what it was like filming in Melbourne, Australia.

Visions of the Apocalypse (17:10/HD): This featurette looks at mankind’s fascination with the end of the world, and then covers creating the apocalypse images used throughout the picture. This is quite a detailed, and impressive look at the work that went into this aspect of the film.

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Chandler Cantebury and Lara Robinson in Knowing.
Trailer (1:32): A trailer for the movie Push. Presented in Standard Definition, but with a high bitrate, it looks better then DVD footage.

Knowing is a decent movie which has an ending likely to divide audiences. There are some great action sequences here, and quite a bit of tension. Icon have provided a brilliant video and audio transfer, reference quality, but skimped out on providing a lot of detailed extras. Still, this is a movie woth checking out on Blu-Ray. Impressive.

Review By: Dave Warner


Note: All images in this article are Copyright© Icon Films. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.