Prophesy That

28/03/09 | Posted by MattPage

Film Review: Knowing
Of all the titles that Jesus was known by during his time on earth, "prophet" was perhaps more widely used than anything else. The crowds, the woman at the well, the Pharisees, the disciples and even Jesus himself all used the term. Yet it's one of the descriptions that we're perhaps least comfortable with today. It’s fine for Jesus to be a "good teacher" or even a messiah, but it's usually only the followers of Islam who will call him a prophet.

 Nicolas Cage in Knowing

Part of that derives from problems with the very idea of prophesying. We can accept that Jesus may have been able to foresee his own death, or know what his critics were thinking when they disapproved of his miracles. However, we’re less comfortable with passages such as Mark 13 where he either predicts the catastrophic fall of Jerusalem, or the end of world, or possibly even both. You only have to observe how few films about Jesus include this passage to gauge our concerns about the idea of anyone, even Jesus, predicting the future in such a manner.


It’s this question that lies at the heart of Knowing - the new Nicolas Cage film. It’s certainly not afraid to wrestle with some of these issues as it builds towards a wonderfully tense final third. Cage plays John Koestler, a recently widowed Astrophysics professor whose grief seems to have sucked the enthusiasm out of his lecture on determinism. These days all he manages to conclude is that “shit just happens”.

But he’s forced to face this troubling question head on when his son, Caleb, brings home a mysterious piece of paper from class. Caleb’s school has just celebrated their 50th anniversary by unearthing a time capsule which had been buried by the class of ‘59 for that very purpose. The majority of Caleb’s predecessors drew pictures of what they thought the future would look like, but when the envelopes containing them are given out Caleb somehow ends up holding a piece of paper covered in numbers. By ‘chance’ Koestler realises that the numbers seem to predict 9/11 as well as many other major disasters both from the past and what seems to be the future.

Koestler’s no stranger to the prophet from Nazareth: his father is a pastor, though the two appear to have fallen out over religious matters. But such is the urgency and the seriousness of the prophecies he holds, he suddenly lacks the time to reflect on how what he is discovering might affect his beliefs.

Dark City

Director Alex Proyas is no stranger to such philosophical material. Ten years ago his science fiction thriller Dark City gave us a hero with supernatural powers who frees humanity and gives them new life and new hope. Sadly, this time around the film is much more uneven - a strange mix of impressive visuals, and dreadful, spooky-movie, clichés. For every finely crafted special effect there’s something crassly unoriginal hot on its heels. Yet perhaps the biggest cliché of all is Nicholas Cage’s overly familiar performance. If you thought that this was the film to see him leave behind his intense, sombre, caring but world-weary act, then you, at least, are clearly not a prophet.

Back to the top

Please bookmark this post at Facebook or Twitter:   Facebook    Twitter

This form has been disabled

Sorry, but we're no longer receiving comments




Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Enter this word:

Search rejesus

Blog post categories

Story, Art & image, Reviews, Sound & vision,


Related modules

RJ is hiring

Rejesus is looking for new content contributors: artists, writers, thinkers, coders, film makers, creatives. If you have a great proposal get in contact.


arrow Art & image

arrow Articles

arrow Biographical

arrow Downloads

arrow Experiential

arrow How to

arrow Interactive

arrow Interviews

arrow Poetry

arrow Reviews

arrow Seasonal

arrow Sound & vision

If you've found something useful on this site, or use it regularly as a resource, please make a donation here to help us continue.

Latest Blog posts

Time out in the quiet lane

I never cease to be amazed at the wisdom which politicians seem to be able to draw on after they… more

Conkers and faith

Horse chestnut seeds, high vis jacket, goggles, gardening gloves - it means just one thing: the conker season is here.… more

The last thing we need is more hate

What is your first thought when a stranger comes towards you? Is it friendly or fearful, hostile or welcoming? Do… more

Seeing things differently at

christian prayer christmas faith abolitionist auschwitz celtic foodball text message forgiveness timeline simon taylor photo poverty quiz cross sayings interaction workplace amen jerusalem happiness office slum friar golf veronica theology artist nun animation global warming war poor quotable pdf bishop mother teresa saint nature interview poet exercise course freedom astrophysicist photographer clouds plants mark
This is a static version of the site. Some content is no longer functional.
© rejesus 2002 to 2017
Powered by ExpressionEngine
Design by Embody