KNIGHT AND DAY
Roy Miller (Tom Cruise) bumps into June (Cameron Diaz) at the airport - twice - as she plans to fly home for her sister's wedding. They end up on the same flight but have very different experiences as Miller's mission is put in danger. But what is his mission? Is he a good guy or a baddie? The FBI and CIA are after him but he tells June they're the baddies. Soon, they are a fugitive couple on a glamorous and sometimes deadly adventure with a fantastic new energy source invented by brilliant youngster Simon Feck (Paul Dano) as the main prize, sought by the good guys and the baddies alike. Amid shifting alliances and unexpected betrayals, they race across the globe, with their survival ultimately hinging on the battle of truth vs. trust.
Review by Louise Keller:
The film's funniest scene comes right near the beginning, when Cameron Diaz's carefree homeward bound airplane passenger June Havens is happily getting high on tequila, when her newfound, charming covert secret-agent acquaintance Roy Miller (Tom Cruise), matter of factly explains how rough the flight has become. I won't go into details, except to say that all the deadly action with guns, knives and sharp moves happens when June is freshening up on board and their realities are poles apart. The reason this - and the rest of the film - works, is because not only are the characters so nicely set up but we like them.
Player or pawn? That is the key question in this delicious action thriller that finds the perfect balance between comedy and taking itself seriously enough to be real. Or as close to real as we want to be, that is. Are you with me? It's all about the charisma and star power of Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz who seem to be in perpetual motion and in top gear dodging bullets, knife thrusts and punches on trains, boats and planes (as well as in every other precarious situation you can imagine). Diaz's June can be forgiven for being confused about her whereabouts - we hardly know ourselves, as the action moves from Boston to the cobbled streets of Salzburg and its rooftops, a tropical desert island off the grid, the countryside of Germany and the bull ring of Seville, when Roy and June negotiate a herd of bulls as they speed along the road on a motorbike. (Watch out for the scene when June is given a truth serum; I want some of that.) It's the unexpected (in both action and character) that makes this high speed romp a winner.
Cruise and Diaz are terrific together and we believe them both. Sometimes things happen for a reason Roy tells June when they bump into each other by accident at the airport at the beginning of the film and I am happy to say there is no real reason to see the film, except that you will have a whale of a good time. In his screenplay, first time screenwriter Patrick O'Neill makes that first airport meeting count - and by the time Roy is philosophising to June ('some day means never') about his wish list of things he has never done, we are hanging on his every word. It's a thrill ride with laughs and director James Mangold hangs it all together with a light touch. The title? Like the film, it plays with us.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Fast, funny and exciting, James Mangold has fashioned a wonderful, escapist thriller in the classic mould, something that would have suited Cary Grant ... kinda. Both Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz play is straight, bless them, grounding the film and letting us invest in their characters. It would be so empty without that. Mangold has a light touch but delivers a seriously entertaining film, a roller coaster with plenty of scary downhill rushes as well as some tense cruising and heavy duty climbing.
The intriguing opening sequences in the airport and the lol scenes in flight set up the film's comedic action tone, which is perfectly balanced so that while we often laugh, there is always an edge to the action, real danger; this is the hardest thing to pull off well. We have to believe, even though we know life has been enlarged for us. But it has been enlarged with the kind of fantasy that invites us in, to share the illusion for 108 minutes, stepping into a world where anything is possible. Even a stunning but mad motorbike chase amidst the running of the bulls, a frenetic chase through Salzburg and a complex freeway shoot out in which a terrified June takes the wheel and Miller rides gunshot on the hood. And all through everything, Mangold pays great attention to detail - where a lesser director may have given away his film to the devil.
When June (Diaz) tells Miller (Cruise) some of the things she wants to do 'someday', he tells her that's code for never. Later in the film this exchange is echoed with an upbeat resolution that sends us reluctantly but satisfied from the cinema.
Cruise is excellent in the action hero role, his sense of comedy intact; Cameron Diaz is wonderful and credible as June, surprised at what is happening to her, naturally scared but warming to the thrills. All the supports are solid, notably Peter Sarsgaard as the FBI agent chasing Miller for the gizmo that will change the world, invented by nerdy Simon Feck (Paul Dano). By the time the story nears its climax, we completely jettison dreary reality and take flight with this plucky duo on their way to 'someday'.
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KNIGHT AND DAY (M)
CAST: Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Maggie Grace, Peter Sarsgaard, Paul Dano, Marc Blucas, Viola Davis, Dale Dye, Jordi Molla
PRODUCER: Todd Garner, Cathy Conrad, Steve Pink, Joe Roth
DIRECTOR: James Mangold
SCRIPT: Patrick O'Neill
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Phaedon Papamichael
EDITOR: Quincy Z. Gunderson, Michael McCusker
MUSIC: John Powell
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Andrew Menzies
RUNNING TIME: 108 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: July 15, 2010