“Knight and Day” Movie Review (2010)

7/02/2010 Posted by Admin

“Knight and Day”

Movie Review

Directed by James Mangold, written by Patrick O’Neill, 109 minutes, rated PG-13.

By Christopher Smith

James Mangold’s action-comedy-romantic-thriller “Knight and Day” covers all the bases, and it gets the job done nicely in one of summer’s better movies. In doing so, it also gets the job done for its co-star, Tom Cruise, who needed this movie to be a success in order to continue the Herculean effort of getting his damaged career back on track.

It’s taken him years to do so (and he still has a ways to go), but the long march back to the top began by playing Les Grossman in the 2008 comedy “Tropic Thunder,” which critics and audiences hailed, and then by juxtaposing that performance against the gripping turn he delivered in the 2008 thriller, “Valkyrie.”

And, so, two years later, here we are. After recently playing Grossman again on the MTV Movie Awards, Cruise comes off that bizarre high with “Knight and Day,” a movie that’s just as shrewd and as calculating as every step he has taken since leaping on Oprah’s sofa and then stupidly tapping into his controversial religion, Scientology, to take on prescription drugs in a disastrous PR move that crippled his image--and thus his career--for years.

Cruise still is feeling each pinch--he never should have allowed his personal views to demystify how his fans view him. But by keeping his mouth shut and by turning out good movies, he slowly is coming back. “Knight and Day” came in a respectable third at the weekend box office, losing to “Toy Story 3” and “Grown Ups,” each of which had the edge of playing on more screens. Currently, he has two films in pre-production (“Mission: Impossible IV” and “The Hardy Men”) and 11 in development, including a movie based on Grossman, which suggests Hollywood hasn’t shut the door on him yet.

For those who love movies--and who follow the careers that spring from them--all of this has been a fascinating display of what it takes to shake off a shaky past and rebuild it with the help of a well-paid think tank. You could make a movie out of what has gone down here--and perhaps Cruise should.

Anyway, about “Knight and Day”--it’s a good time. In it, Cruise is Roy Miller, a secret agent out to make certain that an all-powerful battery made by an intellectual dweeb (Paul Dano) doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

Everyone wants the battery, which not only puts pressure on Miller, but which also literally pushes him into the arms of June Havens (Cameron Diaz), a goofy gal from Boston who is at the wrong place at the wrong time when Miller needs a diversion.

All sorts of mishaps go down between them that won’t be revealed here, but protecting that battery from those who shouldn’t have it proves dangerous and difficult, especially when Roy and June fall for each other. But what’s June to do when she learns from two other agents (Viola Davis, Peter Sarsgaard) that Miller might be paranoid and unstable? It’s her mixed feelings that tug the movie into unexpected directions.

Beyond the exotic locations (the film reduces the world to the size of a postage stamp and skips from one country to the next), what’s so good about “Knight and Day” isn’t just Patrick O’Neill’s smart, witty script, but the chemistry shared between Cruise and Diaz, who sell O’Neill’s words with aplomb. You can’t manufacture what these two generate onscreen. They’re a well-paired team, here to have fun, and that fun translates beautifully in a movie that features moments that are intentionally and deliriously absurd.

Grade: B+

View WeekinRewind's video preview of the movie below. What did you think of the film?

Knight and Day Preview from Christopher Smith on Vimeo.

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  1. Tom Graczkowski said...

    Good for Cruise! Whenever the trailer came up it always cracked me up so I'll be checking this one out for sure this weekend.