USA 2010  Directed by: James Mangold  Written by: Patrick O’Neill Produced by: Cathy Konrad, Todd Garner, Steve Pink Cinematography: Phedon Papamichael Editing: Quincy Z. Gunderson, Michael McCusker Music: John Powell Cast: Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Peter Sarsgaard, Maggie Grace, Paul Dano, Marc Blucas, Viola Davis, Jordi Molia

No matter what people say – his antics, his outbursts, and his beliefs – Tom Cruise is still the world’s #1 box office draw and highest-paid actor in town, yours and mine. With his Cruise/Wagner productions, having worked with a long list of who’s who of actors and directors, Tom Cruise has proven time and time again his talent in choosing and making films that both entertain, and liven the dreams and memories of his audience. And, believe me, anything with Tom Cruise’s name attached to the billing will almost certainly seem like “his” project.

Until now.

Funny thing is, Tom Cruise of all, and maybe exceptionally here, played his part to a T. His acting was subtle and convincing, that of a lunatic FBI agent that’s gone rogue – not your average alpha male in a constant state of intensity. Ironically, maybe the conviction came with his present public image. Maybe he knew it and leveraged it. Throughout the movie, you weren’t really sure if he was insane or not. In any case, it was a good move.

Cameron Diaz looked too old her for her part. Her constant but tiring Joker-like smiles and dodo-bird behavior did not complement well with Cruise’s mad-scientist conduct. Along the way of being pulled into a chain event of chaos and catastrophe, she falls in love with her captor (Cruise), who convinces her that he’s really the good guy and the FBI that’s chasing him is the bad.

And like Diaz’s character, this film was clumsy with the editing, the sequence of storytelling, and the standings of a genre. It went from what seemingly a thriller to a romantic comedy, then to an all-out action film. You didn’t know who was in the driver’s seat when this film was made.

KNIGHT AND DAY was a movie on menopause – sporadic, hot and cold, and impulsive with mood swings. We are talking about A-list people working with A-list material and budget, and suddenly, didn’t know what to do at the last minute, and hashed it out with one stroke. I’m sure the cast thought they were making something unconventional. But the editing hacked that intention into pieces. Even the soundtrack came under par. The entire story was carried along by salsa-tango, even when they were in the Swiss Alps. I understand that it was to imply that eventually we’d meet the bad guys who happened to be Spanish. But was there only one CD on the shelf? Character development took way too long, leaving little time for the key figures to play out their roles.

This is one movie where I wish they’d followed the book and kept its elements to standardized form, like, maybe choosing a title that made sense to the movie. Maybe the Cruise is losing a bit of the control. Maybe subsequently explains why there’s going to be another Mission Impossible movie.


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One Response to “KNIGHT AND DAY”

  1. Dominic Scaife Says:

    Girlfriend enjoyed this one… that’s all I can say about this movie.

    For me it was just a 90 min Cruise/Diaz ad

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