Knowing isn't what you'd call a "feel good" kind of movie. On one level, it is a typical disaster film. On a deeper level, it's a story that can challenge one's faith and allows the viewer to think about what they will do with the time they have left.
Spoiler alert: it's the end of the world as we know it.
Nicholas Cage plays John Koestler, a professor at MIT who has recently lost his wife to a tragic hotel fire. Along with losing her, he lost his faith. This added a great deal of strain to his familial relationships, particularly with his father, a pastor. His relationship with his son, Caleb, however, seems to have been strengthened. It seems that they only have each other to hold onto.
Caleb's school pulls a time capsule out of the ground that had been buried for 50 years. The metal tube was filled with images of the future, drawn by the students of 1959. The odd thing is that Caleb doesn't receive a picture of a spaceship or a robot. His envelope contains pages full of seemingly random numbers. Enter Professor Koestler's keen analytical mind and we discover that there is a pattern to the numbers, representing the location, date, and number of victims involved in every major disaster over the past 50 years.
Three dates remain following the opening of the time capsule, the final being October 19, 2009. When John witnesses the first upcoming disaster firsthand, he becomes a believer, regaining a fraction of the faith he once had. He attempts to do some good in light of the second disaster by putting himself in the thick of it. He discovers that what is slated to happen cannot be avoided.
Unlike all the previous dates, October 19 is not followed by a number of victims, nor is it followed by coordinates for a location. Instead, there are two backwards Es. It's determined that EE is short for Everyone Else. John knows that a final disaster is on its way and there's no way to properly prepare for it.
Meanwhile, Caleb encounters beings known as "whisper people." These men grew increasingly creepy as the film progressed. These whispers were responsible for the numbers being written in 1959, and proved to be a quiet voice of warning and preparation for humanity.
Some might view these whisperers as aliens, while others may view them as angels. There are clear connections made to the book of Ezekiel, where the prophet saw visions of angelic chariots and a wheel within a wheel. The whisper people in the film brought with them transports that resembled wheels within wheels. They gathered those who were chosen, those who heard the call. Caleb was one of those chosen.
In the face of total destruction, John is forced to believe that his son would be going to a better place. John returns to a place where he is able to once again believe in the concept of forever and that somewhere, someone is in control of our universe. Someone has a plan and our lives are not just random sequences of events. On that final day, John is able to repair his relationship with his father, and spends the end in the arms of his family.
The whisperers are seen leaving the planet with many spaceships in tow, and we are left to assume that each ship has people on board. The Earth is incinerated by an extremely powerful solar flare, while Caleb and all those who were chosen are deposited on another Earth-like world as a means to continue life.
Knowing is a very intense movie. While it is a movie worth seeing, you may want to leave the kids at home for this one. The whisper people are incredibly creepy throughout the film. Also, there's a lot of violent imagery during the disasters and in one of Caleb's prophetic visions.
The film presents an interesting challenge. What do we do with today? We don't know when our last day will be. It could be tomorrow, it could be 50 years from tomorrow. But why should we wait until all hope is lost to remind ourselves of what we have? We shouldn't hesitate to let our loved ones know that they are our loved ones. Often, when we are faced with the end, we're given a sense of clarity about what's really important. That's a clarity that John eventually receives in his last hours. What will you do with the time you have left?