Hello. My name is James Harleman, and I’m a Cage-aholic. I thought I’d given up on the Nicolas for good, but last week I fell off the wagon and watched his latest film, KNOWING.
A friend invited me, and I couldn’t resist… and you know what? I’m not sorry.
I used to have it BAD. Seriously, I own Vampire’s Kiss. Told you. Through thick and thin, whether he was Raising Arizona or out-Travolting John in Face-Off, I was Wild at Heart for the Nickster. One of my biggest fights with my girlfriend (now-wife) was whether Con Air was better than The Rock (and I think, with years and sobering reflection, we all know the answer to that… though why that girlfriend stayed with and married me is now the more difficult question). Then, when I least expected it…
He was Gone in 60 Seconds.
There were a few other limp, scene chewing offerings, but since he tried to play an angel I’d given grace when he’d rolled Snake Eyes, and forgave him when he was Bringing out the Dud. Gone in 60 Seconds had all the right ingredients, (fast cars, fast Jolie) but the honeymoon was just… over. Was it me? There were moments I still held a Matchstick for the man, and there was the occasional Treasure (only one worth mentioning) and he made at least one amazing Adaptation (he even brought tears to my eyes buried beneath the World Trade Center) but then the Wicker didn’t hold together, he took an awkward ride as a flaming Ghost, and finally – as the flicks began to flicker past beneath my notice, they even started titling his movies “Next!“ Nicolas Cage had really left Las Vegas.
I didn’t bother going to Bangkok to see if he was really dangerous (and that place can make a hard man humble). I was SO over Nicolas Cage, save for the occasional salute with arm up and a lamenting cry of “My HAAAAAND!” in memorium of the once-great actor who named himself after Iron Fist’s blaxploitation superhero buddy Power Man. But now… thanks to Alex Proyas, director of The Crow and Dark City…
… light your signal flares and wave off the memorial bombers, because it’s time for another Cage match!
A teacher opens a time capsule that has been dug up at his son’s elementary school; in it are some (numbers, that seem to indicate) chilling predictions… some that have already occurred, and others that are about to… that lead him to believe his family plays a pivotal role in the events that are about to unfold. – from IMDB
Seriously, I’d already taken a pass on this film about numbers that looked like it was going to play by the numbers. Although Proyas’ early work ranked high on my list of favorite films, I, Robot had left me wanting. Maybe on DVD, I’d told myself, but hadn’t even put it in my Netflix queue.
My friend Dean liked it so much he wanted to see it again, wanted me to see it with him, and I think he even offered to pay. Bored and alone, I took him up on the offer and discovered why people like Roger Ebert are saying that KNOWING is “among the best science-fiction films I’ve seen — frightening, suspenseful, intelligent and, when it needs to be, rather awesome.” (read Ebert’s review here)
While I don’t consider the film as highly as Ebert did, KNOWING did restore my faith in Cage and Proyas, and dabbles with issues of faith that run even larger than life (and the larger-than-life Nicolas Cage). Keep reading this week as we look at how the film explores the mysteries of:
“How am I supposed to stop the end of the world?” – Nicolas Cage, as John Koestler, in KNOWING
Whether or not he stops the end of the world, Nicolas successfully averted the end of my Cage-aholism. Pass me a copy of Valley Girl, I’m going to get really messed up…
*Update: audio presentation on the film’s theme’s given to a live audience following a showing of the film available below.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download
Subscribe: iTunes | Android |