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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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Leopold Mandic: Western Christians who are working for greater dialogue with Orthodox Christians may be reaping the fruits of Father Leopold’s prayers.
<p>A native of Croatia, Leopold joined the Capuchin Franciscans and was ordained several years later in spite of several health problems. He could not speak loudly enough to preach publicly. For many years he also suffered from severe arthritis, poor eyesight and a stomach ailment.
</p><p>Leopold taught patrology, the study of the Church Fathers, to the clerics of his province for several years, but he is best known for his work in the confessional, where he sometimes spent 13-15 hours a day. Several bishops sought out his spiritual advice.
</p><p>Leopold’s dream was to go to the Orthodox Christians and work for the reunion of Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy. His health never permitted it. Leopold often renewed his vow to go to the Eastern Christians; the cause of unity was constantly in his prayers.
</p><p>At a time when Pope Pius XII said that the greatest sin of our time is "to have lost all sense of sin," Leopold had a profound sense of sin and an even firmer sense of God’s grace awaiting human cooperation.
</p><p>Leopold, who lived most of his life in Padua, died on July 30, 1942, and was canonized in 1982.</p> American Catholic Blog Good parenthood is a blend of yes and no. Knowing when to say no and enforce it leads to more yeses. No doesn’t shrink a child’s world; it expands it.

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