Review – Edge Of Tomorrow

Movies and video games have never made the easiest of bedfellows, so it’s ironic a film based on a book should inadvertently capture what makes great games tick.

As fun a ride as you're likely to have all summer, Edge Of Tomorrow is a film you'll want to watch it all over again

As fun a ride as you’re likely to have all summer, Edge Of Tomorrow is a film you’ll want to watch it all over again

Although Edge Of Tomorrow inevitably attracts comparisons to Groundhog Day in its time loop structure, Major William Cage’s (Tom Cruise) seemingly endless replays and slow, obsessive battle to defeat the bad guys brings to mind the likes of Halo and other highly intensive action games.

In fact it wouldn’t have looked out of place for the words ‘Game Over’ to appear each time Cage dies before respawning at the same point, while its tagline ‘Live. Die. Repeat.’ will be familiar to millions of gamers trying to progress through their latest game.

Major William Cage's (Tom Cruise) day is about to turn very bad in Edge Of Tomorrow

Major William Cage’s (Tom Cruise) day is about to turn very bad in Edge Of Tomorrow

Setting aside his odd personal beliefs, you have to hand it to Cruise for having managed to remain at the top of the tree for more than 30 years. He’s also done it on his own terms and has often been prepared to use that winning smile he became famous for early in his career to subversive effect.

Here, the smile is used to sell the allied war effort against an invading alien race known as Mimics who have conquered most ofΒ  Europe. In spite of his senior rank, PR guru Cage has seen no combat, choosing instead to fight the war in front of the TV cameras as the face of the United Defence Forces (UDF).

Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) and Special Forces soldier Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt) consider their next move in Edge Of Tomorrow

Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) and Special Forces soldier Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt) consider their next move in Edge Of Tomorrow

So when UDF commander General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson) informs the cowardly Cage that he’s being embedded on the frontlines for Operation Downfall, the UDF’s all-or-nothing invasion of France (it can’t be a coincidence the film has been released in the US on the 70th anniversary of D-Day), Cage unsuccessfully attempts to worm his way out of it.

Deployed in the first wave, Cage is killed within a few minutes, only to suddenly awaken back at the barracks, where the invasion begins all over again. With the help of super soldier and UDF poster girl Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), who appears to be the only one who understands what is happening to Cage, they set about trying to defeat the enemy, one death and one time loop at a time.

Super soldier Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt) does the business in Edge Of Tomorrow

Super soldier Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt) does the business in Edge Of Tomorrow

Director Doug Liman is now best regarded as an action director, although he made a name for himself with the indie classic Swingers (1996). His form in the genre has been patchy; on the plus side he gave us The Bourne Identity (2002), but this was followed by the smug Mr And Mrs Smith (2005) and the tedious Jumper (2008).

The scales have been balanced with this rousing romp (based on the novel All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka) that zips along at a dizzying pace and doesn’t get lost in its time-space continuum. Cruise plays a genuinely slimy and unlikable character who is forced to become a better man by the fortitude and bravery shown by Vrataski.

Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) finds himself on the frontline in Edge Of Tomorrow

Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) finds himself on the frontline in Edge Of Tomorrow

Blunt, who must have a thing for time travel movies after staring in Rian Johnson’s Looper (2012), is a breath of fresh air. It’s a role that demands a strong performance and Blunt delivers it with consummate ease; she’s more than Cruise’s equal on screen and flexes both her acting and physical chops.

The film’s kinetic editing style effectively emphasises the sheer number of times Cage must undergo the same events in order to progress that little bit further each time and the psychological impact it must have is etched on Cruise’s increasingly tortured face.

Sci-fi movies steal from each other all the time and Liman is happy to maintain this tradition. The exoskeleton used in the film is lifted from Aliens and last year’s Elysium, while the influence of militaristic sci-fi flicks such as Starship Troopers is palpable.

As fun a ride as you’re likely to have all summer, Edge Of Tomorrow is a film you’ll want to watch it all over again.

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30 comments

  1. CMrok93 · June 7, 2014

    It had a neat premise that may have been done before, but that still didn’t bother this movie one bit because it’s so much fun. Good review.

  2. hooray4movies · June 7, 2014

    Great review. Great comparison to the video game style and how easily Game Over could have plastered the screen after each death. Just a shame people aren’t going to see it in the numbers they should be

    • Three Rows Back · June 9, 2014

      Thanks! The numbers aren’t looking great so far, but I’m hopeful word of mouth will boost the box office.

  3. Joseph@thecinemamonster · June 7, 2014

    Another positive review! I really need to get out and see this!!

  4. Tom · June 7, 2014

    This thing really kicked some ass man. A total treat, even though I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at the sheer convenience of the MacGuffin’s employed here within. Still, I’d gladly take this type of self-aware Tom Cruise (ditto that to the general atmosphere of this blockbuster) than another by-the-numbers movie that lacks both humor and personality. Great review

    • Three Rows Back · June 9, 2014

      Thanks for the mention in the review Tom! You’re too kind. Well, I’ve always said you can’t have too many MacGuffins! Cruise really is a master at this sort of movie isn’t he? He’s kind of the last of a dying breed.

  5. Pingback: Edge of Tomorrow | digitalshortbread
  6. Stu · June 8, 2014

    Good stuff, glad you enjoyed it!

  7. sidekickreviews · June 8, 2014

    Great review, can’t wait to see this!

  8. Terry Malloy's Pigeon Coop · June 9, 2014

    Top stuff mate! Hopefully catching up with this at some point this week and looking forward to it. I wasn’t expecting much from it but I’m glad it’s turned out pretty well.

    • Three Rows Back · June 9, 2014

      Cheers mate. Hope you see it soon; will look forward to your review πŸ™‚

  9. Consumed by Film · June 9, 2014

    Great review man. Really enjoyed this one myself, glad to hear that you share the same sentiment!

    Adam.

  10. The Critical Cinephile · June 9, 2014

    Saw it this weekend and enjoyed every bit of it! Most fun-filled entertainment I’ve experienced in a film so far this year.

    • Three Rows Back · June 9, 2014

      That’s great; very pleased you got as much of a kick out of this than I did.

  11. ruth · June 10, 2014

    I totally agree Blunt is more than equal to Cruise, she’s always charismatic and likeable. Here she’s also bad ass! I don’t mind seeing this again on rental too, glad I gave it a shot despite the underwhelming promos for this flick.

    • Three Rows Back · June 20, 2014

      Sorry for not responding sooner Ruth! I’ll definitely watch this again; Cruise and Blunt are great together.

  12. Tim The Film Guy · June 12, 2014

    I was shocked at how much I liked this film. Just did my review but the more I think about the film the more I think I like it. Love a pleasant surprise at the cinema πŸ˜€

    Great review Man.

    • Three Rows Back · June 20, 2014

      Cheers Tim. Enjoyed your review too. Alongside The Lego Movie, this is one of the most pleasant surprises of the year.

      • Tim The Film Guy · June 21, 2014

        Yeah that was a pleasant surprise too πŸ˜€

  13. Tom · June 14, 2014

    Man, for whatever reason I somehow missed commenting here.

    But yes, obligatory comment agreeing that this movie was indeed, fantastic. A real summer treat! Haha.

    Good job as always my friend

    • Three Rows Back · June 20, 2014

      Sorry for the late reply Tom. Obligatory thanks sir! You can’t beat a lovely cinematic surprise I always say!

  14. Dan · June 15, 2014

    Far better than I was expecting. I hated Oblivion and didn’t like Jack Reacher so wasn’t expecting much from Cruise but he has a winner here.

    • Three Rows Back · June 16, 2014

      I felt Oblivion had its moments but was too much style over substance. Never caught Jack Reacher, but I’ve always had time for Cruise.

  15. CinemaClown · June 26, 2014

    Watched it a few weeks back & just published its review n have to agree… This was a blast from start to finish. And Tom Cruise proves that he is still capable of shouldering the weight of an action blockbuster. Plus the best thing about it is that it remains playful despite a grim story, thanks to perfect timing of wit.

    Excellent review, my friend.

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