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Monday, February 18 , 2019, 1:30 pm | A Few Clouds 57º

 
 
 
 

Cinema in Focus: ‘Knight and Day’

The combining of an action film with a love story is not unusual, but this one is unusually entertaining

3 Stars — Entertaining

James Mangold’s Knight and Day excels for two primary reasons. First, as an action film, the stunts include unique situations not yet seen in the genre, and second, as a love story, the chemistry and pacing is believable. When you add the visual and verbal humor of writer Patrick O’Neil, the recipe is complete.

The relationship at the center of the action is that of super-spy Roy Miller (Tom Cruise) and the alluring June Havens (Cameron Diaz). Looking for an unsuspecting accomplice in order to get something through security at the airport, Roy chooses June. This decision lights a spark that is fanned into a flame through the adventure they share.

The plot centers on an energy source created by a young genius inventor named Simon Feck (Paul Dano). The story includes betrayal and justice, sacrifice and calling, love and commitment. But the primary message is that love is always a possibility — no matter what our profession or responsibility. When someone’s job requires killing others, it is difficult to imagine how one could do so with sensitivity and compassion, but Roy tries. This adds an interesting texture to the film.

One technique Mangold uses in telling the tale is to have one of the leading characters lose consciousness, and this enables him to leave whole sections of impossible situations out of the story. This is ingenious but also frustrating since it allows holes in the story to be ignored. But the story is intriguing, and the actors are engaging enough to leave the audience entertained and satisfied with the experience.

Well-cast, well-written, well-acted and creative, Knight and Day is wonderful entertainment.

Discussion:

» When action films allow the hero with a pistol to be victorious over many people with machine guns, we are required to suspend reality. What other ways could be used to demonstrate the hero’s superior skill?

» The attraction that Roy and June experience is obvious, but the circumstances difficult. Do you believe this adds tension to the story? Why or why not?

— Cinema in Focus is a social and spiritual movie commentary. Hal Conklin is former mayor of Santa Barbara and Denny Wayman is pastor of Free Methodist Church, 1435 Cliff Drive. For more reviews, visit www.cinemainfocus.com.

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