Making the Grades
In this breezy summer romp, Tom Cruise stars as Roy Miller, a mysterious man who leaves us wondering if he is a good guy or bad guy for most of the movie. In the opening scene, he boards a plane with June Havens (Cameron Diaz), even though he does his best to try and prevent her from getting a seat. From June’s perspective, she’s thrilled the handsome stranger even noticed her. But after a visit to the restroom to freshen up, she reenters the cabin only to find the handful of passengers sharing the flight are all dead and Roy is now in the pilot’s seat. Not good.
After a clumsy landing, Roy warns the beleaguered mechanic from Kansas that she will likely meet up with some government officials the next day. He admonishes her to tell them nothing and refuse to go anywhere with them. Then he gives her a quick dose of some sleeping drug.
June wakes up in her bed the next morning a little confused about the preceding day’s events. A short time later she meets the men she was cautioned about. Uncertain of Roy’s trustworthiness, the innocent bystander confides what little she knows to the agents (two of whom are played by Peter Sarsgaard and Viola Davis). Yet sadly, once you’ve had a brush with a spy—whether a rogue one or not—there’s a good chance you won’t ever get your life back—and certainly not in time to attend your sister’s wedding on Saturday.
For adults and teens searching for a film with appeal for both genders, this mix of action and romance is a relatively rare find. While the script is sparing with its use of mild and moderate profanities (and the unfortunate inclusion of a very unnecessary sexual expletive), violence is dished out generously. Physical confrontations pervade from start to finish with depictions of fistfights, blazing guns with endless ammunition, car chases, manhunts and explosions. Even some angry bulls stampede their way onto the screen. All this mayhem results in many implied deaths and injuries—not only from bullets but also from falls, impacts with cars and (in one case) getting hit by a speeding train. Along the way a selection of "secret agent" pharmaceuticals are dispensed or injected at appropriate scene changes, leaving characters with side effects ranging from unconsciousness to giddiness.
Although it sounds messy, this movie is careful to keep things neat and clean. The sanitized violence, lightened by humor, seldom even causes Cruise or Diaz to have ruffled hair or stained clothes—although there are a couple depictions of blood. Sexual content is also limited to a few brief comments and a scene where a woman in a bikini has a non-explicit conversation about who changed her wardrobe while she was sleeping.
If good popcorn is tough to find in theaters, then good popcorn movies are even harder. Thankfully Knight and Day gets the kernels of fluffy moviemaking just right, with enough heat to keep things interesting while not burning its audience with copious amounts of sex and graphic violence.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Knight and Day.
How is the script of this movie influenced by marketing possibilities? What genders and ages do you think it would appeal to? In your opinion, is it a perfect “date” movie? Why are action/adventure tales and romances such popular film genres?
When one of the characters in the movie talks about the things they want to do "someday," another claims, “Someday is really just code for never.” Why is it often the case that plans for "someday" never happen? What dreams have you put on this list? How could you go about realizing them?