Nic Cage has gotten spiritual. He may have flirted with touchy-feely before (the blubworthy City Of Angels) but in his latest pic Knowing, he's cast aside his action man biceps and gone full-on metrosexual.
And it works. Just about.
As grieving single dad (and...ahem...astro physicist) John Kesslar, Cage acts the most he's done in years. Not always great, admittedly - but at least the fire seems to be back in his belly after sleepwalking through recent tat such as Bangkok Dangerous and Next (I just slept). When John's son discovers a secret numerical code that reveals the date on which the world will end, it's up to father and son to do what they can in a short amount of time.
Once upon a time - in the Con Air-ish 90s - that might have involved riding around on a huge motorbike and beating up the bad guys. But for the new peace loving Cage, it's all about quality time with the family and healing old wounds. Ah...bless.
That's not to say that Knowing isn't big and ballsy. The end of the world is nigh and there are disasters a go-go, allowing directed Alex Proyas (I Robot) to go full-on with the FX. A plane crash scene is especially gutsy, demanding you see this on the biggest screen and best sound system possible. As John's world spirals out of control, the pic isn't afraid of getting dark, dirty and just plain miserable. I like that. I mean, Armageddon would hardly be fun, would it?
Knowing does let itself down though. Potential endings come and go, with the flashier ultimately chosen in favour of the intimate. That's a mistake - dodgy endings stick in the mind a long time, even if the rest of the movie is pretty awesome.
But for the most part, this delivers. A hodge podge of familiar films it may be - Deep Impact, Signs, Indiana Jones, even old 50s sci-fi - but that motley mix is the best single thing Nic's done in ages. 4 stars.