Never one to be deterred by a bunch of critics telling me I shouldn’t go and see a movie, I went to see a movie today that has just opened in the UK and is not faring well amongst the movie opinionated – Knight and Day. To be fair, I do wonder sometimes if critics have me in their sights when they put their opinions to paper (after all, I’m not a bloke in my 20s), but I’m always one to read, digest and then completely ignore advice. And in this case, I’m glad I did because Knight and Day did everything it said on the tin – it thrilled and entertained from start to finish and was completely and utterly ludicrously ridiculous. But that’s fine by me – it’s what I expected.
A big reason why I would always go and see Knight and Day is its inclusion of Peter Sarsgaard, one of the finest actors of his generation and repeatedly underused. After Peter’s success as David in last year’s big success An Education, I wish that this will lead to exciting, knife-edge work but, in the meantime, we have Peter as the possible FBI rogue agent in Knight and Day and the baddie with the big head in the forthcoming Green Lantern. I still live in hope that Peter Sarsgaard will not have to live out 80% of his career as a big movie baddie. Admittedly, he’s very good at it, but I look at Kinsey and An Education and Jarhead and I hope for more faith in him from filmmakers. Of course, it works both ways. These big baddie roles were his choice. But I’m biased – I’ve been fortunate enough to meet and chat to Peter on a number of occasions over the years. And he has the best speaking voice in the movies, especially when it sticks to an American accent.
Knight and Day has little purpose except to be a vehicle for its two stars – Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. If you don’t like Tom Cruise than there’s a good chance you’re not going to like this film. If you don’t like Cameron Diaz then it doesn’t matter so much because you’ll be more than worn out following Tom Cruise across the screen. It’s as if they wanted to make use of every single action film element they could think of – exotic locations, European cities, car chases, plane crashes, nerdy simpleton of an ex-boyfriend, spies, people walking out of the sea in bathing costumes, horrible bridesmaid’s dresses, big guns, big noise, romance, geeks – and then they threw Cruise and Cameron into the colourful mix. I’m not sure how long Knight and Day lasts but it flew by. There was barely time to draw breath before our attractive leads found themselves in another beautiful location before having to escape yet again in an even more extraordinary and rather foolhardy manner.
Cameron Diaz isn’t much of a heroine, I must be honest. She spends much of her time either talking to herself or unconscious. This is because Tom Cruise finds her easier to deal with when she’s drugged. It’s also extremely convenient for the director. Tom Cruise’s character, Roy Miller, on the other hand, appears to be almost completely immune to dangerous situations and can engage in a perfectly polite conversation while disabling 10-15 bad guys with a gun in each hand. He can do just as much damage with a paperclip and a postage stamp.
Life is cheap in Knight and Day. Before the film has barely begun, we’ve seen what Roy Miller is capable of. But his mass execution of everyone on a plane is offset by scenes of Cameron’s June Havens in the plane loo trying to make her breath smell nice for this charming stranger (who keeps knocking her over in airports). Clearly, one has to suspend one’s disbelief to enjoy Knight and Day, but, if you do, then you will find yourself on a rollercoaster ride – complete with stampeding bulls. Not much is expected of the audience – it’s a simple plot. All you have to do is enjoy the spectacle.
As far as Tom Cruise is concerned, I will always admire an actor who will spend three hours on the red carpet giving every fan there what they want. When you’ve experienced a big premiere red carpet as I have (on quite a few occasions – and it’s 90% not much fun at all), you realise that Tom Cruise has a very special relationship with his fans. He’s also raced round the track as a Star in a Reasonably Priced Car on Top Gear – need I say more?
So, never mind the critics, you could do a lot worse than watch Knight and Day this summer.