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The light and dark of Tom Cruise's 'Knight & Day'

June 18, 2010 |  8:07 pm

One of the most curious experiments of the summer is Tom Cruise's "Knight & Day." James Mangold's film about a rogue CIA agent (Cruise) and his vigilante globetrotting experiences with a pretty innocent (Cameron Diaz) is in many ways a bold release, not only because it doesn't have that pre-sold thing so many Hollywood films go with these days (it was a creation of Mangold and a host of big-name Hollywood writers; more on Mangold and that process shortly) but because it's such an unusual mix of genres, moving from action thriller to romance to screwball comedy to missing-son drama.

My colleagues Claudia Eller and Ben Fritz have broken down  the film's challenges and prospects, looking at the tracking, which has been soft, and Fox's response to it, which has been to sneak the film this weekend before Wednesday's release to try to get word-of-mouth to stand in for the built-in expectations that, say, a superhero or formula romantic comedy brings.

Mangold’s film, while potentially satisfying for filmgoers in an environment of one-note summer entertainments, is the kind of movie that creates a challenge for marketing executives. To emphasize one element is to risk alienating people who’d be drawn to the other, and Fox, like any studio releasing a film like this, finds itself caught between going hard after one constituency and trying to offer something for everyone. (A series of television spots – Fox has bought large chunks of airtime over the last several weeks – has alternated between comedy and action emphases.)

 And that's to say nothing of Tom Cruise's box-office stock and where it sits in this post-Valkyrie (but pre-"MI: IV") world. Summer isn't usually the time for drama on the big screen, but it's shaping up to be a  dramatic time for some of the people behind it.

-- Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz in '"Knight & Day." Credit: 20th Century Fox

Comments () | Archives (9)

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The previews I've seen on TV made me think the Tom Cruise character was a mental patient living out a fantasy and taking someone else along for the ride. That was NOT a movie I wanted to see.

If there is a purpose to the film, as your information suggests, I may buy a ticket.

The traile for Knight and Day looks like a wild ride to me. I won't miss it. I can't wait for the fun.

I've wanted to see this from the first time I saw the first trailer. Cruise looks extremely funny in this film. And i got the feeling that Cruise will have some great chemistry with Diaz, an actres I haven't found too special very often. Still, that's definitely not stopping me from seeing this very early on after its release date hits.

All the stuff about Cruise's life means zero to me when regarding the work. He's worked with some of the very greatest cinematic artists of our time. He's made great films in several different genres. Working with Scorsese, Spielberg, PTA, Cameron Crowe, the list goes on, it's impressive, and so is the work that Cruise has delivered in many of those films. He's a fine, underrated performer, and I've only been more hyped for Inception and Toy Story in terms of Summer 2010 fare.

Aside from the comments from the Cruise family herein, the disingenuous Tom is just an old actor, struggling to remain relevant, in a role meant for someone 20 years younger and a foot taller.

Looks like "Knight Rider" on a motorcycle! Does the bike talk?

I can't wait to see this film. I've been looking forward to it since the trailer. Truthfully speaking, while his personal life/spiritual beliefs do not resonate with mine, he is a fine actor with many more miles to go in his already admirable career. So long as he keeps making great movies, I'm happy to see them. As far the genre-splitting/trying to find an audience rationale, it's refreshing to see some gray area in films than be stuck with overpaying for 3-d graphics and mediocre storytelling. In this era, people are so neurotic about hitting gold every time that they seem to have missed the wonderful gray areas of storytelling, and frankly, it's getting boring for the average viewer like myself. I don't know if this film will be a life-changer, but at the very least it will be fun and inventive, and that's something I'll always pay for.

Why do all the positive comments on here sound like PR hacks for this film? Not to diss the film or anything.

I just saw this film today and enjoyed it. There was a LOT of action and of course the usual hero kills fifteen hitmen alone and not one shot hits him or her, BUT there was enough chemistry between Cruise and Diaz to keep me interested. As a 50+ female I thought it was a good escape movie...guys will really relate to the nonstop action!! It was also surprisingly clean in language and the "violence" wasn't bloody gore...very good stunt work.

I thought it was a fun datenight movie! It was nice to see a movie that
wasn't part of a "trilogy"



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