I’ve realized that I’m more or less a sucker for this type of movie: big-budget, well-written, highly polished, international/globe-trotting/political intrigue/espionage stories, with big-name stars, helmed by an accomplished director. Knight and Day is but the newest in this line, and while it’s definitely not extremely original and/or unique among this type of film, it certainly satisfies for what it is.
What surprises me most about this movie is that I’ve never really considered myself to be a big fan of either of its stars, but I found myself liking them both quite a bit here. Tom Cruise plays an extremely likable government agent named Roy Miller, who goes out of his way to protect the innocent June Havens (Cameron Diaz) when she gets mixed up in his operation. Even when the script attempts to introduce doubt as to Roy’s intentions, though, it’s so obvious that he’s exactly who he says he is—the good guy—that this is one attempt at a twist that’s unsuccessful. June, likewise, is a character who’s almost impossible not to root for. Diaz plays her as a genuinely friendly person, not the naive, bumbling girlie-girl I’d assumed I’d encounter. She’s willing to get her hands dirty, and that only adds to the fun.
The plot is basically what you’d expect, beginning with a mix-up that leads to Roy and June getting stuck with each other for a while. It twists and turns and surprises as it should, though without any crazy, hard-to-swallow reversals. The one thing that annoyed me was how Knight and Day seems to ignore the realities of time. It’s hard to know how many days have passed at a couple of points in the film, and this wouldn’t seem like a big issue if they hadn’t previously mentioned specific deadlines that had to be met. It’s one of those things that’s sort of glossed over, though, and obviously we’re not supposed to worry about such things; when you’re being whisked around from place to place, action sequence to action sequence, you’re just supposed to enjoy the ride.
The most recent film that operated in much the same way was The International, one that I enjoyed equally as much as this one. There’re also shades of The Saint thrown in here, with Paul Dano (from There Will Be Blood) factoring in as a wunderkind of sorts who alternately provides and functions as the always-needed MacGuffin. There’s some influence from North by Northwest here, too, as so many of these types of films exhibit.
Director James Mangold already has several interesting films under his belt, most recently Walk the Line (which he also co-wrote) and 2007’s excellent 3:10 to Yuma, and Knight and Day shows the same level of polish as those productions. It’s another interesting addition to an already-varied resume that will be exciting to watch continue to develop. I don’t have a ton to say about this one, other than it is what it is, and sometimes that’s exactly what you’re looking for. Just don’t expect some profound explanation for the title, because that’s the one aspect of this movie that seems to have been completely half-assed. Particularly amongst the other movies that’ve been coming out this summer, though, it doesn’t exactly have to hit it out of the park in order to satisfy.