Sunday, 27 March 2011

Knight and Day

Don’t you just have to love a film that begins with the hero/protagonist killing a bunch of innocent men (most of whom probably had loving families at home) for laughs? Oh yeah, this is going to be fun!

Knight and Day actually has a lot going for it (more than I would have thought possible before going in). Tom Cruise is perfect for the role of Roy Miller, a super-spy who makes James Bond look like an old man. It’s a role that needs to be played with just the right amount of ‘a wink and a nod’, the kind that Johnny Depp apparently failed to pull off in The Tourist. Cruise does this effortlessly (perhaps too effortlessly?). And Cameron Diaz does well with her role as the woman unwillingly caught up in Miller’s insane killing spree as he runs for his life. The cinematography is gorgeous and much of it is filmed in my beloved Europe (even in Austria for once). The dialogue and some parts of the story are relatively original and intelligent for a silly action film. And there are a number of genuinely funny scenes (there’s a great line in the film, delivered deadpan by a CIA director as she describes agent training: “Love and empathy - we train it right out of them.”).

Sure, Knight and Day makes little sense, but this is not meant to be a serious spy flick (again, this is ‘apparently’ where The Tourist lost its way). So, aside from the nonstop ‘killing for fun’, what’s wrong with this film? Lots, really (e.g. the plot is full of holes of all kinds), but the bigger question is: Can there be anything right with a film in which the audience is invited to laugh as the hero mows down everyone who gets in his way, innocent or not?

This dilemma is not uncommon in the genre I call ‘suspense comedy’ and in some adventure films like this one. As with some of those other films, I found Knight and Day an entertaining film to watch but only as a guilty pleasure, because I could not let go of of the endless lighthearted violence. So part of me wants to give the film ** for being so offensive; another part thinks I need to ‘give it a rest’ and give the film the *** warranted by my enjoyment of the film. I can’t find my mug.

One new review a day coming this week. Tomorrow I’ll be reviewing Rango.

1 comment:

  1. Very much my feeling about this movie, although I don't know if I reacted quite as much to the violence. When it's as relatively silly as this I find it a little easier (rightly or wrongly) to overlook than something by Tarantino where graphic, relatively realistic violence is often meant to be funny.