July 7, 2009
Taking another look at Knowing
There's not a whole lot that can be said about the film without getting into serious spoiler territory, but suffice it to say that the film concerns prophecy, on some level, and it uses biblical imagery at key points, in a way that some critics found awe-inspiring and other critics found cheesy beyond belief. Sonny Bunch of the Washington Times wondered at the time if the film got so many negative reviews because of the religious content itself -- though it should be noted that the film takes these images in directions that are quite different from what the Bible itself does with them.
As it happens, the movie's storyline is at least partly the work of Christian writers. Ryne Pearson, the novelist who wrote the first drafts of the script, is a Catholic and spoke to Angela Walker of Christians in Cinema, as well as Sr. Rose Pacatte, shortly after the movie came out. In those interviews, he hints at some of the changes that were made to the story by the director and other writers -- the controversial ending, for example, did not come from him -- and he talks about how he didn't set out to make a "message movie", but a movie that would explore the "natural" reactions that people might have if they knew that the end was near for them.
He also notes that the film leaves a lot of things open to interpretation. So, interpret away -- and feel free to offer your own take on the movie in the comments below. Does this film use biblical imagery in a positive way? Does it stray too far from the biblical purpose for this imagery? If you lived in the world of this movie, would the events depicted here support or undermine a biblical worldview? Do the film's departures from the Bible illuminate any aspect of the Bible that you hadn't really thought about before? Is this, as some say, just another silly religious flick, like the Left Behind movies? Or is it something deeper and more thought-provoking, as Ebert and others seemed to think?