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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Knight and Day

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service


Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz star in "Knight and Day."
Adults in search of escapist summer fare will likely be pleased with the good-natured action-and-romance combo "Knight and Day" (Fox). But intermittent stylized violence and a smattering of crude and profane dialogue preclude endorsement for adolescents or younger viewers.

As the female half of the blockbuster couple at the heart of this genre-splicing story, Cameron Diaz plays everyday woman June Havens. Though June is slightly ditzy—in the time-honored Goldie Hawn manner—the opening scene, set in an airport through which she drags a suitcase laden with auto parts, establishes June's knowledge of mechanics in general and classic cars in particular.

Those skills will come in handy after her seemingly random run-in with highly skilled CIA agent Roy Miller (Tom Cruise), an initially flirtatious encounter that leads June into a bizarre, barely plausible adventure.

Roy, it develops, is on the run from his former colleagues—led by Director George (Viola Davis) and Agent Fitzgerald (Peter Sarsgaard)—after absconding with a new, potentially revolutionary energy source (i.e., a self-sustaining battery) and stashing its young, geeky inventor Simon Feck (Paul Dano) in a remote hideaway.

As Roy battles his erstwhile allies, as well as evil Spanish arms dealer Antonio Quintana (Jordi Molla), who eventually gets thrown into the mix, the bewildered June is left dodging bullets and trying to figure out whether Roy—for whom she rapidly, inevitably falls—is rogue or hero. (Though, really, Cruise's sly smile, undimmed since his "Risky Business" days, should leave her in as little doubt as it does the audience.)

Director and co-writer (with Patrick O'Neill) James Mangold's breezy diversion, meanwhile, ping-pongs from one romantic setting to the next—Salzburg today, Seville tomorrow—showcasing car and motorcycle chases and taking a steady, but largely bloodless, toll on the extras along the way.

A back story concerning Roy's roots deals touchingly with themes of family love and patriotic sacrifice, and the adroitly portrayed, chemistry-rich central relationship progresses, for the most part, innocently enough.

The closest the script comes to anything edgy between the two leads is a recurring joke about an incident in which Roy drugs June to keep her from panicking, then changes her (off-screen) out of her clothes and into a bikini—Roy's Caribbean hideout is one of the aforementioned idyllic backdrops—while she sleeps.

June's appropriately annoyed reaction to this invasion of her privacy only succeeds in drawing another of those trademark grins.

The film contains frequent, though mostly nongraphic, action violence, at least one use of profanity and of the F-word, some crude language and a few instances of sexual humor. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III—adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13—parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

*****
John Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.




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Augustine of Hippo: A Christian at 33, a priest at 36, a bishop at 41: Many people are familiar with the biographical sketch of Augustine of Hippo, sinner turned saint. But really to get to know the man is a rewarding experience. 
<p>There quickly surfaces the intensity with which he lived his life, whether his path led away from or toward God. The tears of his mother, the instructions of Ambrose and, most of all, God himself speaking to him in the Scriptures redirected Augustine’s love of life to a life of love. </p><p>Having been so deeply immersed in creature-pride of life in his early days and having drunk deeply of its bitter dregs, it is not surprising that Augustine should have turned, with a holy fierceness, against the many demon-thrusts rampant in his day. His times were truly decadent—politically, socially, morally. He was both feared and loved, like the Master. The perennial criticism leveled against him: a fundamental rigorism. </p><p>In his day, he providentially fulfilled the office of prophet. Like Jeremiah and other greats, he was hard-pressed but could not keep quiet. “I say to myself, I will not mention him,/I will speak in his name no more./But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart,/imprisoned in my bones;/I grow weary holding it in,/I cannot endure it” (Jeremiah 20:9).</p> American Catholic Blog Pope Francis said, “The Church gives us the life of faith in Baptism: that is the moment in which she gives birth to us as children of God, the moment she gives us the life of God, she engenders us as a mother would.”

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