It’s Saturday, and that means movie review time. The movie of the day is the 20th Century Fox release Knight & Day. The movie is directed by James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma), and it stars Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Peter Sarsgaard, and Viola Davis. This is the second time Cruise and Diaz were onscreen together, the first time being the completely forgettable (at least it was in my opinion) Vanilla Sky. I went into this movie with expectations of a silly romp of a film, a la Mr. & Mrs. Smith – also known as the movie that brought us the two-headed demagogue Brangelina. There is a bit of irony to that, but I’ll get to it later. First, the review.
The movie begins in Wichita, Kansas – no, really; it does – where we are introduced to Roy Miller (Cruise) and June Havens (Diaz), where June is en route to Boston for her sister’s wedding, and the other is…well, we’re not quite sure where he’s en route to. Through a bit of fortune, they end up on the same flight headed to Boston (not before Roy gives June a cryptic bit of advice), and that’s where we get to see Roy at work. The trailers for the movie show a bit of it, but that doesn’t do it justice. I don’t want to give it away, but I never knew there was a different way of using a plane’s seat belt. Anyway, the plane crashes, with Roy and June the only survivors. This is where the movie really picks up, and they end up traveling to exotic locales while stuff blows up everywhere. It turns out that there are people looking for a magical MacGuffin, and it doesn’t really serve a purpose until the end, but that’s to be expected.
Let me go on record as saying I don’t care for Tom Cruise as a person. I think his views on psychology and depression are laughably stupid, and could possibly do more harm than good. That being said, I think he is a fantastic actor. He’s been mostly known for his dramatic tropes, but he hasn’t had a chance to cut loose and have fun until this movie. He does what he does best: chew up scenery like cotton candy, flash the impossible pearly whites, and he even does the Tom Cruise Run™.
Cameron Diaz has always been a favorite of mine. She can play sultry (The Mask), clueless (There’s Something About Mary), calculating (Any Given Sunday), and bubbly (Charlie’s Angels). In this, she plays her part about like how any average person would initially react in her situation: she freaks out. She’s hilariously inept at some things, but surprisingly capable at others, and – as the trailer shows – she can really handle her weapon.
Peter Sarsgaard plays a character named Agent Fitzgerald, and his part is almost like an unfunny version of Lynch from The A-Team. He’s all business and has a very disarming smile. Paul Dano plays Simon Feck, a brilliant yet reclusive man who has created a great source of power – also known as a MacGuffin. He presents an air of naïveté that a recluse should, all while jamming out to Hall and Oates’ “Private Eyes.” Viola Davis plays CIA Counterintelligence Director George, and she brings gravity to a role that has fairly limited screen time.
James Mangold took the helm at director, and he puts the film through its paces with a skillful hand. I also admired the fact that there was very little CGI in the movie. When they travel to the exotic locales, they’re actually there and not in a soundstage back in Hollywood. They even have a chase through Pamplona. Yes, THAT Pamplona. The music was done by John Powell (the irony being that he was responsible for the music from Mr. & Mrs. Smith), and it doesn’t overpower the action at all; instead, it compliments it nicely. It befits the summer blockbuster that it is.
This movie was released on Wednesday, which is an aberration for movies nowadays (except for the occasional emo vampire movie), but it didn’t hurt this one at all. I actually enjoyed it and was glad that it wasn’t an utter bore. As far as ratings go, I’ll give it three dragon heads out of five, and I’ll say that it was good for a few laughs and a few big booms.
And, you can’t go wrong with that.