James Mangold’s Knight & Day is released today in the UK. Ben Mortimer went to see it for us. Good egg. Here’s his review:
At some point Knight & Day was a really good idea. The high-concept, ordinary girl meets insane super-spy, is pretty fun, and the three leads, Cruise, Diaz and Sarsgaard are, in spite of the occasional off-day, excellent actors.
Unfortunately, the finished movie is simply bad, and for 109 minutes, Cruise and Diaz’ characters bounce from incident to incident, with little purpose, and no real reason for doing so.
Within a few minutes of the opening of the film, logic has taken a back seat, when June (Diaz), having her bags inspected by airport security, is evidently carrying almost an entire car in her hand luggage. Having been allowed through, she is directed to a flight whose entire crew and passenger manifest consist of secret agents out to kill Roy (Cruise).
Initially June is refused boarding, but then, for no sensible reason she is allowed onto the flight, during which Roy is attacked by and kills every agent on the plane, several of whom are unarmed, despite most of them simply trying to restrain him. Quite apart from making no sense, this takes place so early on in the film that we don’t yet have any real empathy for Cruise’ character, and unsurprisingly it results in him being pretty hard to like for the remainder of the film.
This lack of empathy would be an asset, given that Cruise is playing an agent who may or may not be rogue, and is certainly unhinged; except that he is also Diaz’s love interest, and for their relationship to make any sense, we need to be able to understand what she sees in him.
Of course, the film’s biggest flaw is the script, which is simply appalling. There only the loosest of plots, and no solid characterisation, with the motivations and objectives of Diaz’ character in particular changing spontaneously, and without any justification. What is worse though, is the sheer lack of wit. Its not only not funny enough to be a comedy, it doesn’t even have the pithy dialogue that makes the worst straight-to-DVD action flicks bearable.
The tragedy is that there are some clever ideas in the film. The decision to cast Tom Cruise in a role that is essentially a deranged version of Ethan Hunt was inspired, and the frequent knocking out of Diaz’ character to allow the story to move locations rapidly is a clever conceit that is well realised. Unfortunately these are the only high points in an otherwise awful film that is a likely contender for worst of the year.
So, in a nutshell: it’s smart casting to have Tom Cruise to play a lunatic and every time Cameron Diaz gets knocked out is a high point.
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