Director: Doug Liman
Starring: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson
Release Date (US): 6th June, 2014
Company: Warner Bros
“Come find me when you wake up!” – Rita Vrataski
Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity)’s Edge Of Tomorrow stars Tom Cruise (Oblivion) and Emily Blunt (The Adjustment Bureau) in a sci-fi adventure about a man forced to re-live the same day over and over again. Humanity is under siege by an alien race known as ‘The Mimics’, and is preparing for one last assault on the invaders. Completely outgunned, their only hope is William Cage, a soldier on the front lines, whose death causes him to wake-up at the start of his last day, learning new details about the battle each time he does so.
Apart from the obvious similarities to Groundhog Day, the film’s core premise is incredibly unique – and that plays to its advantage. Based on a Japanese 2004 light novel titled All You Need Is Kill, this adaptation never feels like it overdoes its time-reset concept. Although the action scenes play out much like a video game, the writers ensure the film is sufficiently supported by several quieter, more human moments.
Indeed, despite being an action blockbuster, it avoids the glorification of war (unlike some of its Hollywood counterparts). Instead, it highlights the questionable propaganda and the harsh reality of combat. The partnership between Cage and Blunt’s Rita Vrataski is easily the most compelling element, thanks to two very well-written leads. The only significant flaws lie with the villains, who are never fully developed enough, while the movie’s finale is also a little too explosion-heavy – a disappointing departure from the rest of the film.
“Master Sergeant Farell, you’re an American.” – Lt. Col. Bill Cage
“*No,* sir. I’m from *Kentucky.*“ – Master Sergeant Farrell
Coming off the back of underrated hits like Oblivion and Jack Reacher, Tom Cruise is in fine form once again as the movie’s protagonist. Charming, sly, and at times, completely in-over-his-head, Cruise delivers an honest and understated performance, void of his trademark ‘Hollywood gravitas’ – making Cage infinitely more relatable. Often dismissed as “just a pretty face”, the A-lister is clearly picking his roles wisely at the moment.
Equally impressive is the talented Emily Blunt, who helps carry this movie with another excellent leading performance. Tough, smart and incredibly intimidating, Sergeant Rita Vrataski is one of the best female characters of the year. Reversing gender stereotypes, the fearless Vrataski is far more ‘heroic’ than Cage – with whom she shares great chemistry. Elsewhere, Bill Paxton (Apollo 13) is extremely entertaining as Cage’s shouty, sarcastic drill sergeant, though the rest of the supporting cast suffer from a lack of screen time.
Direction & Tone
Doug Liman does an excellent job at adapting this piece onscreen. The execution of the time-loop concept is perfect, and never feels tired or over-used at any point during the movie. The visuals are stellar, while the action scenes are pulsating – expertly conveying the gritty horrors and confusion of battle. Despite the movie’s often bleak tone, the humour is handled very well too, with Cruise and Blunt firing on all cylinders.
- In many ways Edge Of Tomorrow‘s concept is an overt metaphor for the current state of many other Hollywood blockbusters – which are becoming increasingly repetitive.
- This movie sadly didn’t do particularly well at the box office. I blame its questionable marketing team, over at Warner Bros, who led half of the general public to believe its name was Live. Die. Repeat.
- Personally, I believe a far wittier (and, not to mention, more lucrative) title would have been: Groundhog Day: Here We Go Again.
Exceeding all expectations, Edge Of Tomorrow boasts non-stop action, impressive visuals and an intriguing central premise. Ultimately its brightest spark comes from its two truly dynamic leads. Tom Cruise (Oblivion) and Emily Blunt (Looper) are outstanding.
Result: “Very Good”