For a movie like Knight and Day to succeed, it needs to do two things. It needs to showcase its attractive stars, Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz, in a way that’s bouncy, sexy, and appealing. And, as an action comedy, it needs to be — you got it — exciting and funny.
I’m happy to say that it is funny and exciting and I thoroughly enjoyed hanging out with Diaz and Cruise. The movie succeeds well beyond my expectations actually. It’s a spy thriller with humor that’s well crafted and strikes just the right tone – and maintains it throughout. It’s even almost Hitchcock good.
I had a blast watching it. Cruise and Diaz are two of the screen’s most likable personalities and they display smooth, engaging chemistry. I've always liked both and consider them almost a sure thing. And they’ve never looked sexier than tangled together, guns blazing, aboard a motorcycle during a preposterous chase scene.
As an action movie, it offers the most bangs for your bucks of the summer so far. Perfectly indicative of the style and tone is the opening sequence. Roy (Cruise) and June (Diaz) find themselves aboard a plane together. We know nothing about him and little more about her.
The flight is bumpy, perfect to send her sprawling into his arms. She excuses herself to use the restroom – to tidy up and make sure her breath is fresh. While she’s jostled about in the restroom, things get bumpy for him as well. Suddenly, everyone on board, including the pilots and the stewardess, is trying to kill him.
In a perfectly executed bit of slapstick, he kills everyone on board while she misses everything. She emerges from the restroom to find him waiting for her holding two drinks, all of his victims propped up in their seats as if asleep. It’s like a parody of a Roger Moore James Bond adventure played straight.
They don’t get to relax though. After sheepishly admitting that he has just killed the pilot, he excuses himself to go land the plane. And we now have no doubt that this super spy kind of guy can do just that.
Much like Hitchcock’s thrillers – Notorious comes to mind – the film is really just an excuse to place its movie stars in one exotic set piece after another. And Knight and Day has a perpetual battery for its characters to fight over just as that Hitchcock movie had uranium powder.
Knight and Day also shares with Hitchcock’s thrillers a playfully perverse sexual attitude. The scene where June wakes up after being drugged to discover she is wearing a bikini should feel familiar to anyone lucky enough to have seen Vertigo.
The movie has a nifty structure. In the beginning, we know nothing about him and all we know about her is that she’s traveling to a wedding. By the end, we have him pretty well figured out, but now we wonder, “Who is she exactly?” Was it really such a coincidence that they bumped into each other not once but twice at that airport?
Who has been playing who all along? We feel if Roy had failed to take control of that plane that June would’ve just pushed him aside and landed it in some cornfield herself.
The movie does go a bit soft – or perhaps just a bit too familiar – along the way. I did say “almost” Hitchcock. But, when it’s on, it’s the most entertaining movie in theaters right now – except for Toy Story 3, of course.Powered by Sidelines