Utterly Ridiculous, and All the Better for it
JLFM - wrote on 12/09/13
If you want to know what might happen if Tom Cruise starred in an animated movie- but without the animation- Knight and Day should be quite a treat. Knight and Day, like many animated films, dispenses with reality and provides silly circumstances and wacky characters. And yet, at the same time, Knight and Day is a surprisingly solid action movie. There are fun chase scenes, and legitimately cool fight sequences- all while retaining the film's zany, crazy tone. By all accounts, Knight and Day should not work. The blend gritty action scenes and cartoon-like humor is jarring, to the say the least. But the action is effective enough, and the comedy is funny enough, and it all lends itself to a very enjoyable popcorn flick- albeit, a nutty one.
June Havens' life turns upside down when she meets a guy by the name of Roy Millers that turns out to be a secret agent of sorts. He's eccentric- maybe crazy- but there are "bad men" everywhere, and if she wants to get out of this alive, June has no choice but to trust Roy- even when things a bit out of hand.
Knight and Day, in many respects, could be considered a terrible movie. It's silly, it's over-the-top, it's completely improbable, and at times, Knight and Day seems to adapt a sort of "anything goes" kind of attitude. But therein lies the film's charm. It revels in its silliness. It relishes its over-the-top antics. It basks in its improbability.
This is the kind of film that will drive people crazy. Knight and Day could cause a passionately negative response from the wrong audience. You think Pirates of the Caribbean is silly? That franchise will feel like To Kill A Mockingbird compared to this. Knight and Day is one of the most unexpectedly ridiculous films I've ever seen. But it's exactly that exaggerated absurdity that causes Knight and Day to move beyond other generic thrillers of the same cloth.
Knight and Day is a wacky little experiment, but it does have problems that are a bit more universal. For example, the main character, June Havens, is all over the board. She has no single personality- it seems to change from scene to scene. The least she could've done is let one of the other characters have one of spare personalities, as the majority of the character ensemble have little to no memorable character traits. There are exceptions of course (namely Roy Miller and Simon Feck), but as a whole, the characters are bland.
Also, at a nearly two hour run time, Knight and Day does feel a wee bit long. The film is mostly engaging from start to finish, but it does run of steam a bit at the 70 minute mark.
Tom Cruise nails it as Roy Miller, the suave secret agent with a screw loose. Cameron Diaz does her best with her personality-confused character, June. Though one does get the feeling that this role might have been better suited towards someone like Kristen Wiig. Still, Diaz' work here is solid. Also notable is Paul Dano as Simon Feck.
I'm not sure whether to praise John Powell's score for its inspired instrumentation, or state my confusion with it. Knight and Day makes heavy use of the accordion in this score, which is, frankly speaking, surprising. In its own weird way, the score does work, but the "anything goes" feel of the film is definitely evident in the music.
Knight and Day is as silly as action films get. It's almost cartoonish-ly over-the-top, and this will almost certainly turn off some audiences. But for those who will excuse this, Knight and Day is a remarkably entertaining popcorn movie. It's a little long, and the ending is definitely too cutesy, but for a reasonably low-profile action movie, Knight and Day is surprisingly fun.