Knight and Day
Looking at herself in the mirror of an airliner bathroom, June isn't sure how to deal with her current situation. After all, this Roy Miller guy sitting across the aisle from her in coach is handsome and charming. And he's got a good line … a great line, actually. But she's just an average girl who's made more than her share of average girl mistakes. And she sure doesn't want this guy to be another one of them. So after a little personal pep talk, she decides to just go back to her seat and shut him out.
Roy, however, is sitting there with puppy dog eyes and a couple of mixed drinks on hand. He gives June one to sip. And he starts joking about having killed the pilot, saying he'll have to land the plane himself.
June has always been a sucker for a handsome guy with a sense of humor.
Then everything tips sideways. Literally. The truth is that Roy wasn't actually joking. In fact, everyone on the plane except for the two of them is dead. Between Roy's quick stories of assassins and worldwide intrigue, and him crash-landing the plane in a cornfield, and her passing out from drugs slipped into her booze, well, the rest of the night is just a blur for June.
When she wakes up the next morning in her own bed and finds little warnings from Roy on Post-it notes scattered around her house, two things quickly become clear: 1) That wasn't just some crazy dream she had. 2) Getting on that flight may have been the biggest average girl mistake June has ever made.
Roy is a government agent with a license to kill, and he doesn't hesitate to use it. But he also reaches out and puts his life on the line to protect those he sees as innocents—among them June, his parents and a young inventor named Simon.
For her part, June wants to do the right thing—even after she's plunged into a deceptive spy world that makes discerning choices very difficult. She has been something of a mother to her younger sister since their parents passed away. And she absolutely loves her sis and has loving memories of her deceased father.
There's a very apparent chemistry between June and Roy. It plays out in a sensual kiss they share not long after they meet. From there, though, the relationship stays chaste as June wavers between a flirtatious attraction toward and distrust of the sometimes duplicitous agent. During a grappling-match-turned-self-defense lesson, the handsome pair end up rolling together in the sand and almost kiss. While high on danger and under the influence of a truth serum, June tells Roy, "I think I feel like having sex. We could have really great sex."
After being drugged and unconscious for a long period, June awakes on a tropical island clad only in a bikini. She questions if Roy dressed her like that and what he saw. Roy is shirtless in a couple of scenes. June adjusts her (clothed) breasts while looking in the mirror. She wears a few formfitting and cleavage-revealing outfits—as do other female characters.
In a semi-sensual sequence, June swings around to straddle Roy while on a speeding motorbike so she can shoot at men in cars behind them. …
The cars smash and burn, prompting Roy to crow, "You've got skills!" But he's the one with the real skills. And he uses them liberally to kill with abandon, giving the impression that that's just what super-secret government agents do. For instance, as the movie opens (with June in the plane's restroom), Roy battles a dozen other passengers who all turn out to be agents. They go for the jugular, but Roy gives better than he gets, slamming heads and faces into windows and overhead bins, pummeling people with seats and seat belts, even strangling a guy with oxygen mask tubes. He shoots a pilot with a silenced pistol.
Roy cautions June early on that now that she's met him, the government boys will soon come a-callin'. And that when they start repeating the mantra of keeping her "safe and secure," what they really mean is they intend to kill her.
There's not a lot of blood on display, but explosives, well, explode, guns blaze, knives impale and fists pound throughout.
When agents pick up June, Roy becomes a one-man demolition squad in his attempts to save her. He shoots some of her captors in the head, leaps on the hood of a moving SUV and proceeds to take out other pursuing vehicles by sharpshooting their occupants or pumping bullets into their gas tanks until the vehicles detonate, tumble and crash. Then Roy shoots June's ex-boyfriend in the leg. And then he takes out a series of masked assassins with automatic weapons. And then … and then … and then …
The gunfire and death-dealing is so constant that a shaken June turns to her "rescuer" and pleads, "Please, stop shooting people!"
Much like modern moviegoers, though, she eventually gets used to the carnage. She even starts applying a few of the pointers she's picked up from all the killing, breaking out of an assailant's grasp and "accidentally" impaling him with a butcher knife. (We see the bad guy gruesomely pull the long blade out of his chest before he's pushed through a window and hit by a train.)
An assassin brutally stabs a man in the back. Roy removes his shirt after one battle to reveal a long gash at his waist. He also appears to be shot several times; we see one bloody chest wound up close. A plane riddles a small island with bullets and explosives as June and Roy run for their lives. Charging bulls ram into a small car, sending it and its passengers tumbling.
Crude or Profane Language
One f-word and a half-dozen s-words. One use of "b‑‑ch." One misuse of "Christ." Several abuses of God's name.
Drug and Alcohol Content
Everybody who's anybody gets drugged at one point or another. Roy slips June some kind of knock-out drug on two occasions. June returns the favor by drugging an injured Roy so she can get him out of a hospital to safety. Another agent has a hypodermic needle full of some deadly mixture plunged into his neck during a struggle.
June drinks small bottles of alcohol on the plane. Roy whips up a few mixed drinks for them to share, too. Later, people drink wine and hard liquor on a train and at a wedding reception. June chills a bottle of wine in her hotel room and joins Roy for a glassful.
Other Negative Elements
On the face of things, there's something very appealing about a movie like Knight and Day. Part of it is the film's jet-setting save-the-world intrigue combined with whiz-bang adventure. Another likable side is the comedic tug and pull of a love story between an enigmatic spy and a pretty-but-frazzled gal-next-door.
As for the spy himself, he's completely poised and affable with almost superhuman spy-guy chops. A fellow who can be bound and swinging upside down in a dungeon torture chamber and still assure you with, "I got this. I'll be down in a couple minutes." I mean, James Bond and Jason Bourne have nothing on Roy Miller.
The whole cinematic affair bops along from tropical isle to the Austrian Alps with a kind of "wait till you see what we've got up our sleeves" charm that fits the current Hollywood action-comedy formula to a T. But while it's tempting to want to chomp on your popcorn and just take a carefree ride on the espionage back-flips and playful charm, I quickly came to the conclusion that I shouldn't. There was something else wrong here beside that popcorn husk stuck in my gum.
It was the killer called Roy Miller.
He's presented as a guy who'd take a bullet for you. (Or at least he'd take a bullet for somebody as pretty as Cameron Diaz.) But what about the dozens of people he puts bullets in? What about the nice-guy fireman he plugs? Or all the government men who aren't really bad guys, just working agents like Roy, serving God and country?
All too often there's a smudging of the crisp lines of right and wrong when it comes to a high-flying actioner like this. And we rationalize away a hero who'll blot out a life without a moment's hesitation because, well, a spy's gotta do what a spy's gotta do. Roy'll do the right thing in the end … right? I can't help wondering if there aren't already more than enough things in life that are nudging us toward moral ambiguity. Do our heroes really need to be smudgers as well?
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Comedy, Action/Adventure, Mystery/Suspense
Tom Cruise as Roy Miller; Cameron Diaz as June Havens; Peter Sarsgaard as Fitzgerald; Paul Dano as Simon Feck
James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma; Walk the Line; Identity; Kate & Leopold; Girl, Interrupted)
20th Century Fox
June 23, 2010
November 30, 2010