Let’s not deny that so far, the Summer of 2014 has been terrific for cinema and after seeing Edge of Tomorrow. I can now say that I think Hollywood is starting to understand what filmgoers want to see. Something original. Edge of Tomorrow (although it’s a lame title) simply blew my mind.
Tom Cruise has a career that spans more than 30 years and he’s still a box office draw worldwide. Even at age 51, he still knows how to pack a versatile punch whether it’s a comedy, a sci-fi drama, or a balls-to-the-wall action film. So, writer Christopher McQuarrie (Jack Reacher, The Usual Suspects) decides to put in all of the above and make it incredibly original and damn entertaining.
An alien invasion has begun from machines known as “Mimics”, with the speed of a track runner laced with tentacles and the mindset of a Terminator destroying every aspect of Europe.
Cruise is Maj. Bill Cage, an Army officer who becomes the PR face of the military that sells these exoskeleton suits whose weapons have 50 cal. power. However, Cage finds himself arrested by General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson) and busted down to Private after refusing to go into a suicide mission against the Mimics. Suddenly, something strange happens. Cage is killed in the battle in which he’s sent, but he wakes up to when he was demoted to Private again, he deals with Master Sergeant Farrell (Bill Paxton) again, and then is introduced to his new team and forced into the battle with the Mimics… again. Then it starts again, again, and again.
After an intelligent setup, this is where the film hits its stride, really having some fun with the timelines. At first, Cruise plays it as a coward who’s never been in battle, then goes comically into conspiracy theorist rattling off the events to unsuspecting people, then into badass mode ripping up Mimics one by one, but then complexity sets into McQuarrie and Jez Butterworth’s screenplay. Realizing that he keeps on dying, Cruise sets out to find the loophole to ending this. What does Special Forces Sergeant Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt) have to do with it? That’s it- I loved this film, too much to bring up any major spoilers.
Thank you for being part of the story. Men thank you for it.
Cruise delivers his best performance since Collateral, as even in a summerblockbuster he gets to flex his acting muscles. As each genre is punched into the film, he stays the course and mixes in many personas to match them terrifically one by one. His scenes with Paxton and Gleeson were absolutely humorous, as character actors like these two having fun with their military characters match well with Cruise. When Cruise and Blunt are together trying to solve the mystery of his time loop we get some good wordplay and the reminder that every time Cage sees Vrataski, he has a short amount of time to convince her that he can help with the mission. It doesn’t hurt either that they have great chemistry together and their training scenes range from funny to inspiring.
I feel the need… the need to live, die, and become the biggest badass in 30… years.
Director Doug Liman has put the finishing touches on his apology letter for Jumper with Edge of Tomorrow. With the help of James Herbert’s rapid-fire editing, he is able to let the actors loose with the material but keeps them grounded when needed. He would make Steven Spielberg proud of the Mimics battle that is shot like a sci-fi version of the Normandy landing in Saving Private Ryan and as the actors move, so does the camera. He mixes in craneshots, shaky cam, and plays it straight in the dramatic scenes with close-ups and mid-shots. Kudos to Christophe Beck’s epic film score that creates a excellent balance for the genre shifts of the film and adds to Liman’s breathless action choreography.
Won’t use that directorial tagline again, right?
Edge of Tomorrow has the feel and budget of a summer blockbuster, but what makes it first-rate is the originality within the story, a game cast having a good time with their characters, and Cruise showing off his A-list charisma with versatility decked in an action-packed two hours that delivers on it’s promise. The motto is Live. Die. Repeat., but for you it should be Pay. Watch. Repeat.
Take a Drink: every time Cage dies comically
Take a Body Shot: every time he’s killed by Rita
Mix a Jack and Coke: every time Cage goes into badass mode
Down a 32 oz.: when the time loop ends