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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 Canterbury: In the year 596, some 40 monks set out from Rome to evangelize the Anglo-Saxons in England. Leading the group was Augustine, the prior of their monastery in Rome. Hardly had he and his men reached Gaul (France) when they heard stories of the ferocity of the Anglo-Saxons and of the treacherous waters of the English Channel. Augustine returned to Rome and to the pope who had sent them—St. Gregory the Great (September 3 )—only to be assured by him that their fears were groundless. 
<p>Augustine again set out. This time the group crossed the English Channel and landed in the territory of Kent, ruled by King Ethelbert, a pagan married to a Christian, Bertha. Ethelbert received them kindly, set up a residence for them in Canterbury and within the year, on Pentecost Sunday, 597, was himself baptized. After being consecrated a bishop in France, Augustine returned to Canterbury, where he founded his see. He constructed a church and monastery near where the present cathedral, begun in 1070, now stands. As the faith spread, additional sees were established at London and Rochester. </p><p>Work was sometimes slow and Augustine did not always meet with success. Attempts to reconcile the Anglo-Saxon Christians with the original Briton Christians (who had been driven into western England by Anglo-Saxon invaders) ended in dismal failure. Augustine failed to convince the Britons to give up certain Celtic customs at variance with Rome and to forget their bitterness, helping him evangelize their Anglo-Saxon conquerors </p><p>Laboring patiently, Augustine wisely heeded the missionary principles—quite enlightened for the times—suggested by Pope Gregory the Great: purify rather than destroy pagan temples and customs; let pagan rites and festivals be transformed into Christian feasts; retain local customs as far as possible. The limited success Augustine achieved in England before his death in 605, a short eight years after he arrived in England, would eventually bear fruit long after in the conversion of England. Augustine of Canterbury can truly be called the “Apostle of England.”</p> American Catholic Blog A hero isn’t someone born with unconquerable strength and selflessness. Heroes are not formed in a cataclysmic instant. Heroism is developed over time, one decision after another, moment by moment, formed by a deliberate, chosen, and habitual response to life.

The Passion and the Cross Ronald Rolheiser

 
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