Knight and Day is a difficult movie to define. It is equal parts screwball comedy and action with elements of romance and espionage thriller sprinkled in. Director James Mangold aims to let the audience in on the fun directly and the results are a mixed bag.
Knight and Day Sees A Return to Form for Star Tom Cruise
On one hand, you have two stars with genuine chemistry between them. Tom Cruise movies used to be an event, but his star has dimmed a bit in recent years. Here he plays rogue CIA agent Roy Miller, a man who has fallen out of favor with the agency over what has been deemed to be behavior contradictory to the best interests of the organization. Cameron Diaz is everyday girl June Havens, an innocent bystander who gets caught up in the web of intrigue as an unknown pawn between Miller and the CIA agents who are tracking him.
A third group of sinister types are also in pursuit of Miller, for he is deemed to control a prototype energy battery that is as small as a normal AA Duracell, but can power an entire city with its efficiency. Miller has the battery and everyone else wants it, so that it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Whose hands are truly wrong, becomes the twist beyond the action in figuring out this cat and mouse game.
Cameron Diaz Lends Notable Star Wattage to the Cast of Knight and Day
Cruise leaves a trail of bodies in his wake in broad daylight, so believability must be thrown out the door right away, but that doesn’t necessarily detract from the film’s effectiveness or lack thereof. Mangold opens the film in an airport, and from plane to train to automobile destruction follows in this Bond-esqe actioner.
Miller is a wild card with a good heart (it seems) but Havens can never know for sure. While June gets swept up as a kidnapped pawn of sorts, it is unclear as to why she is along for the ride. However, her feelings and desire for fun certainly play a part in that. But what sane woman would want to entrench herself with a potentially unstable CIA operative who literally leaves dozens of bodies dead littered around her on multiple occasions? Such is the type of film we are dealing with.
Director James Mangold Might Have Been the Wrong Call to Lead Knight and Day
It’s a messy and inconsistent script that follows its leads through several continents and locations that cause the whole enterprise to tumble. Mangold, who made his name with dramatic films like Girl, Intterupted and Walk The Line, might not have been the right choice to helm here. It is unclear whether the lo-tech digital enhancements are merely there to aid in the whole feeling of cheesiness or if they are simply a result of an insufficient post-production budget. One may never know or care.
Knight and Day is not a bad film experience, but it’s not a strong one either. It is actually a decent time at the movies if you check your sense of reality at the door. Mangold’s film is geared toward the date-going crowd, which it marginally satisfies, without breaking any significant ground in the process. It is a unique film for this day and age, in some ways it feels like a throwback to the Cannonball Run days, but it just isn’t as successful in its execution as one would hope for. See it if interested, pass if on the fringe.