Knight and Day (2010)

Rated: PG-13 for sequences of action violence throughout, and brief strong language.
Length: 109 minutes
Grade: ACBD=A-
Budget: $117 million
Box Office: $260 million (76 U.S., 184 Intl.)

Written by: Patrick O’Neill (First Script)
Directed by: James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma, Walk the Line, Identity, Kate & Leopold, Girl Interrupted, Cop Land, Heavy)
Starring: Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz
With: Peter Sarsgaard, Viola Davis, and Paul Dano.

June Havens is an ordinary citizen who gets dragged into the dangerous and action-packed world of espionage by being on the wrong plane.

Entertainment Value: A
We were more than pleasantly surprised by this. The action and plot of the movie were actually the least compelling thing here. What really makes this movie work is the combination of charm and humor by Cruise and the deliberate choice to simultaneously mock action movies while being an over-the-top ridiculous action movie. For instance, at vital moments in the plot where you can’t see how it could possibly turn out, they don’t even bother to show you and just move to the next scene somehow. Every time, I laughed.

Superficial Content: C-
Drugs/Alcohol B, Sex/Nudity B+, Violence C-, Language C-
There’s a lot of action and killing, although not a ton of blood. There are only mild hints at sexuality. The language is, sadly, one F and a couple S, but totally unnecessary. A couple of times, someone is drugged, usually for their own good. PG-13 is right, although I wouldn’t quibble with someone who said R-15.

Significant Content: B
What I loved about this movie was the presentation of a man as competent, witty, reliable, devoted, skilled, kind, and charming. I felt like I was watching a very modernized Robin Hood type character. For all the negative portrayals of men in movies and on TV, seeing something like this was truly refreshing, a throwback to bygone days of debonair and dashing leading men. And, in a way, there’s almost a depiction of Christ and the Christian here, albeit I’m probably the only one who sees it. At first, she doesn’t know what she’s gotten herself into and doesn’t want him. But at every step, he’s protecting her. And eventually, she learns to love the adventure and trust him so much that she puts herself in jeopardy to entice him back out to her.

Artistic/Thought Value: D
I don’t think anyone is going to offer this as a keen source of philosophical insights. It’s just absurd, light fun.

Discussion Questions:
~Why do you think leading men in movies are not like this most of the time anymore? Were we a healthier society when this sort of man was consistently shown as the ideal?
~One of the key moments in this movie involves a sort of crisis of faith. How do you make decisions about whom to trust when you aren’t sure? Who in your life will you give the benefit of the doubt to when the evidence is against them? How much evidence? In what ways was June dilemma similar to our own with respect to Christ?
~In what ways is this movie a good Christian allegory? In what ways not?
~What do you think of all the killing that happens in this movie?

Poignant or memorable scenes:
~The plane sequence.
~Lunch with Rodney.
~On the deserted island.
~In the hotel in Salzburg. When Cruise says, “That hurt more than I thought it would,” what is happening?
Overall Grade: A-
Take the premise of Killers, wrap it with the action of Mission Impossible, and flavor the whole thing with the debonair and sardonic humor of The Adventures of Robin Hood or Mr. & Mrs. Smith.

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