Theatrical Review: KNIGHT AND DAY

GATW Guest Writer

by: GATW Guest Writer
June 22nd, 2010


Rating: 3.5/5

Writer: Patrick O'Neill
Director: James Mangold
Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Peter Sarsgaard, Paul Dano
Studio: Twentieth Century Fox

Life's a bit of a wild ride at times. One moment everything is going fine, and the next, your partner turns on you. What do you do? KNIGHT AND DAY is this concept in summer popcorn movie form. From beginning to end, the film takes you on one wild, and at times unrealistic ride, while also revisiting the age-old spy movie bits of who is on who's side when we are told by government officials that Tom Cruise's character, Roy Miller (not to be confused with GREEN ZONE's Roy Miller), is a rogue agent.  He killed an entire unit of people, and stole a highly classified item in order to sell it on the black market.  Ask Roy, and he'll tell you (usually very casually, despite typically being engaged in some sort of combat) not to trust what the government guys said, because it's one of them who was really wanting to do the shady dealings described.

Caught in the middle is June Havens, played by Cameron Diaz. Havens bumps into Miller while going through security, and as the two become chatty, we quickly learn that as a late 30s single chick who restores classic cars for a living, yet drives a modern pick up truck...that she's a little interested. Once this encounter is noticed by the Federal agents, ol' June becomes the pawn in this battle, with Roy trying to keep her off the same flight as him; and the Feds, led by Miller's ex-partner Peter Sarsgaard, wanting to keep her on to get more information from her. While she thinks she's on a simple flight home, with a chance to hit it off with some random flirty guy, Roy knows there's something up. While June slips off to the bathroom to give herself a pep talk about just going for it, the first in many scenes to really show Diaz's character to be more of a caricature of a dingy blond, than some sort of modern progressive woman, Roy deals with a situation of his own, as we begin to see just how hunted he really is.
From this point on, the film is almost non-stop action, with any setting or scene being perfectly capable of bursting into action as easily as Nathan Lane bursts into showtunes. Cruise and Diaz pull off these odd characters well, with Miller being either insane-crazy or crazy-insane, with some of the most phenomenal spy skills we've ever seen on film, and Diaz being his insecure, nagging girlfriend, basically.

Between Cruise's Oprah antics, and everyone's own opinions on just how crazy Scientology is or isn't, the part of Roy Miller looks like a cakewalk, but these real-life moments of craziness we've been (un)fortunate enough to witness in Tom Cruise only serve to make this part seem so much more natural, and ultimately provides the best performance of the film, not to mention his recent history. We've already seen Cameron Diaz as an insecure admirer of Tom Cruise, and what happened when they rode in a car together? We saw that she was crazy, and she may or may not have driven him off a bridge.In this film, Diaz is once again insecure and an andmirer of Cruise, but this time, he is the crazy one, and he's hanging on to the top of cars dodging flying cars, bullets, and God knows what else. While the VANILLA SKY flashbacks I had were cool, it's nice to see that Diaz's performance in KNIGHT AND DAY is much better.

While the decisions June Havens makes are almost always guaranteed to be groan-worthy, it's exactly what this film was trying to do. What would horror movies be without poor decision making by the people involved?  If June Havens was in a horror movie, she wouldn't just go upstairs or walk into the dark shed, she would adorn herself in flashing lights, and shout into a megaphone for the world to killer to come and get her. It may seem like that would make for a terrible character, one that you would think would be the first to go, but that's what makes Roy Miller so much more amazing. He's already one of the most hunted men on Earth, and now he's also trying to keep up with what some ditzy chick is going to do, depending on her mood. The more you see Miller and Havens together, the more you understand why James Bond never settled down with one woman for too long. You think your girlfriend talks too much while you're trying to watch TV?  Imagine her telling her stories, or sharing her "feelings" while several armed men use you for target practice!

KNIGHT AND DAY may struggle to clearly define whether it is a comedy, a romantic comedy, a spy movie, or a romantic spy comedy action movie thriller, it manages to find itself in a comfortable little place not many films do. It may have enough humor and fun to entertain anyone who normally enjoys romantic comedies, but it also has more than enough action to appease fans of explosions and various other elements of summer blockbusters, much like TRUE LIES. One thing is for certain though, this is a role Tom Cruise had to play. For anyone who enjoyed Cruise's pre-crazy work, prepare yourselves for the Cruise of old, for he has returned, even in all his craziness, for this role, and he might just be back for a while. All in all, this film would hardly disappoint any fans of the cast, or blockbuster films in general.  Sure there are absurdities, sure there are weak spots in the dialogue, but is it worth checking out? Sure, if not for Cruise's performance alone.

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