Review: Knight and Day

The previews for Knight and Day looked like fun, and I like both Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz, so I was disappointed to hear that the movie was doing badly at the box office. But I read an interesting article about the studio's failure to get the marketing right; marketer Tony Sella said they were trying to “evoke a film like North by Northwest,” and added: “It's a grown up film. That was the whole theory behind selling the film, that it was a cool, adult movie.”

So (even though I didn't like North by Northwest) I figured it was worth catching Knight and Day before it disappeared from theatres. So I went to the late-night showing tonight.

I was one of about six people in the theatre, which on the one hand helped because I could mostly treat it like it was my own private showing, but on the other hand probably meant I didn't laugh as much as I would have with either a larger audience that was enjoying it or no other audience at all.

Still, I did laugh fairly often. I enjoyed the movie pretty much all the way through. It has some rough spots for feminists, but it eventually makes up for most of them. It's got a fun, even if not all that new, overall plot, and the superheroics near the start make clear that you shouldn't be taking it terribly seriously. A fun and enjoyable romp.

It probably helps if you find Cruise and/or Diaz attractive, as I do. Cruise is in his late forties in real life, but he's still in great shape and still has a great smile.

I also like the subversions of a couple of standard action-movie tropes, especially in one particular entertainingly over-the-top escape sequence fairly near the beginning.

It's certainly not Great Cinema. But it's a fun action movie; I certainly enjoyed it more than either of the first two Mission: Impossible movies (never got around to seeing the third, though I heard good things about it). Not as much fun as the Charlie's Angels movies, but still worth seeing if you like this kind of thing.

4 Responses to “Review: Knight and Day”

  1. betsyl

    really? i’d love to hear how it made up for the kidnapping and drugging (apparently on multiple occasions) of the female lead.

    i haven’t seen it, and am not planning to, because of what i just mentioned.

    • Jed

      That is indeed the most problematic aspect of the movie. For me, the female lead’s later actions more or less made up for it, but I imagine that for a lot of people, it would be too big a barrier to enjoyment for too much of the movie. I probably should have emphasized that more strongly in my review.

  2. Joey

    Oh man I loved Knight and Day! It was like a romantic comedy action movie, and Tom Cruise had his charm cranked just a notch too high, which seemed just perfectly off balance. I thought it was a fun way for him to make use of his crazy public image these days. And I have a weakness for wisecracking leads. Normally I find Cameron Diaz so grating, but in this I found her pretty good, and I agree that her rescuing him in the later parts of the movies was a fun flip of a earlier kidnapping and drugging situation that the movie never took seriously in the first place. It was such light, fun fare that it’s really hard for me to see anyone taking serious umbrage with it.


    • Jed

      Yeah, I should have mentioned Cruise’s off-kilterness. Throughout most of the first part of the movie, he’s totally utterly deadly calm despite the mayhem going on; I kind of wondered if he were entirely sane. I think by the end of the movie I concluded that the calmness at the beginning was a sign that he really was out of his depth and was kind of at a loss as to what to do or how to behave, so he fell back on a kind of hysterical calmness. But I don’t know if there’s any evidence of that in the movie.

      Regarding your last sentence, while I did find the movie light and fun, I want to support people’s right to take serious umbrage with this (or any other) movie. Some movies push some people’s buttons (often buttons that have been pushed many many times by other movies and/or our culture in general), and I think getting upset about such movies (and/or refusing to watch them) is a legitimate response. (Now I’m worried that the phrase “push some people’s buttons” may sound like I’m being dismissive; fwiw, it’s not intended that way.)

      For example, I found Strange Days to be a superb movie (at the time; don’t know what I would think of it now), but there’s stuff in it that would likely be triggery for some people and really unpleasant for other people, and so I can’t entirely recommend it. Perhaps similarly, I really enjoyed Chasing Amy quite a bit (again, at the time), and I think that some of the lesbians who (at the time) were upset enough with it to walk out were misinterpreting it, but I can’t blame them for seeing it as fitting into an all-too-common pattern, and for not being willing to wait ’til the end to find out whether it really did.


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