Sunday, June 27, 2010

REVIEW: Knight and Day

I always thought the barrage of disdain directed at Tom Cruise was overwrought. Yes, the man said and did some very stupid things in recent years, but I didn't think he lost his judgment for what made a good film.

At least, not until I saw Knight and Day.

This lumbering mess of a movie steps wrong from the very first frame, and rarely steps right ever again. Watching the trailers, I had thought this action/romantic comedy would be told from the point of view of Cameron Diaz, playing a woman who unwittingly gets caught up in Cruise's spy world.

But no. Knight and Day begins with a shot of the back of Cruise's head. And my first thought was "What the hell?" That wouldn't have been so bad, except the movie switches its point of view about as often as it switches locations, which happens in every other scene. The film has no compass. It doesn't know whose story it should be telling, it isn't sure what tone to take (Mission Impossible? James Bond? Charade? True Lies?)  and it doesn't know what to make its characters think or feel with any kind of consistency. And the sum of all that is, it doesn't know how to be very entertaining. 

This was a real disappointment coming from director James Mangold, who is usually a solid craftsman with such strong films to his credit as Walk the Line and the 3:10 to Yuma remake. However, I'm forced to admit that on the evidence of this film, he's one of those directors who is only as good as his screenplay. And the screenplay for Knight and Day is the most witless one that Cruise has been attached to since Cocktail

It's not the stars' fault. Cruise works hard, as he always does, but he's not doing anything he hasn't done before. In this movie, he's coasting, however energetically. Diaz usually brings a fair amount of charm to her roles, but the script makes her character into such a dingbat, it's hard to sympathize with her. 

Worse yet, this is the kind of movie that thinks its viewers are such dingbats that it actually shows a shot of the Brooklyn Bridge - and then flashes the title "Brooklyn, New York" on the screen. (Facepalm.) Yes, the movie knows it's kinda stupid, but for it to think the audience is that dumb is unforgivable.

I'm still rooting for Cruise to fall back into the public's good graces, but to do that, he needs to take on less star vehicles in which he plays "Tom Cruise," and try more supporting roles that really test his mettle, like Magnolia. He also needs to avoid lame projects like Knight and Day. 


1 comment:

Scott Copeland said...

Am I wrong to point out I actually did a facepalm on the obvious location graphic sitting right next to you? I don't think Mangold did a very good job making this film, but he was working from a terrible script.