Sunday, 8 August 2010

Knight and Day

Only ten minutes in to this rip-roaring rollercoaster ride and you know that you're in for a treat: given chase by an endless line of insectoid Cuban helicopter gunships dangling cigar-chewing Latino roughs, our superheroes Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz bounce the Florida sunshine off each others' teeth whilst stone-skimming their escape in a modified hydrophilic Cadillac.

Cue a series of ear-wrenching explosions in their wing mirrors, an eye-searing sunset, the obligatory smooch and we're back in Cruise's home town, Hicksville, Alabama, with a surprisingly, yet pleasingly voluptuous Diaz ably ministering mother's milk to a bevy of bubbling babes.

So what happened to my action film? What happened to my treat?

Well, Indie happened to my action film. Or, more precisely, Jim Jarmusch happened to my action film. And with that, the belated reinvention of our leading man - from hip-swinging heavyweight to cringe-worthy, ahem, cruiserweight.

Holed up in a haberdashery, next to a gun shop, next to a dive bar, we get to rubberneck at Tom the redneck, as he shoots, swears and swills himself into the gutter.

Peering into the pit at which the bottom of Cruise finds himself, we are belatedly introduced to the eponymous and euphonymus 'Knight': Reverend Edward E. Eloicious [John Goodman] is a perfunctory, proud yet perfectly personable pastor who proffers our leading man a helping hand for which to reach, of which to get a hold and with which to pull himself out of his impastoral predicament.

And in this simple act of manly wspolczucie, of rude deliverance, nay, of love, the director really starts to eat his corn: we, the audience, present or not, are swept, in one masterful movement, from the doldrums of despair to perfectly rendered redemption, from (k)night to day!

A few montages, flashbacks and proleptic pointers later, Cruise, ruddy and hale as in his 'maverick' salad days, stands with Diaz and a generic group of good ol'boys who the director has deigned not to hand peaked white hoods and we get our action movie back: all is abuzz as swarthy heavies lurch over the horizon, dragging choppers behind them.

Luckily, Goodman has more than bulk and Bibles to him, and does just enough to tip the orgy of destruction in the favour of those characters to whom the film has devoted the greater proportion of its attentions.

An excellent film, recommended to those who appreciate entertainment of its ilk.  
Cinco Estrellas

1 comment:

  1. I meant to put this in the review but I forgot: there is an absolutely cracking scene towards the end of the movie where, bedraggled and bereft, Cruise's long-suffering wife must corral a group of bumptious toddlers ones into the back of her drunk husband's pick-up. Her good humour and forbearance in such straitened circumstances is communicated wonderfully by the fantastic Cameron Diaz.

    Chalk it up as another reason to watch this great film.