For a film based on the concept of repetition, Doug Liman’s Edge of Tomorrow sure does not lose its edge. The Tom Cruise starring sci-fi has a simple enough premise, but its fast-paced nature, quick wit and thrilling action sequences keep it both interesting and suspense-filled until the movies closing seconds.
Live. Die. Repeat. Lieutenant Bill Cage (Tom Cruise) is the American military media strategist, a man happy to be firmly out of harms way, who is thrown into a war he has no intention of fighting himself. Aliens are on the verge of defeating the human race, and as Cage – untrained and unprepared for battle – dies on the beaches of France, he suddenly finds himself repeating the day over and over. With the help of the ‘Full Metal Bitch’, the army’s poster girl Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), Cage must hone in his unexpected ability and repeat the day until the war is won.
Repeating the same event time and time again does not sound like an enthralling piece of cinema, but it is shot in such a clever, dynamic fashion that each sequence feels fresh and original, despite the fact we have seen much of it before. There is an overwhelming air of bluntness to proceedings, with a feeling of frustration ever-growing in Cage which adds a real edge to the movie. It never slows down either, covering time quickly but effectively, with cool looking action sequences that are both fast and ferocious in nature.
This is a side of leading man Cruise that we do not often see. Rather than the arrogant, cocky and in control sort of guy he usually pulls off so adeptly, Cage starts out as a coward – a wimp – who grows in both strength and stature as the film develops. Blunt is the no-nonsense, strong-minded and spirited war hero, whilst Brendan Gleeson, who plays the stony-faced General Brigham, is one mean son of a gun whose stubbornness, or possibly arrogance, blinds his judgement when it comes to the war effort he is trying to control.
There is also a quick-wittedness to Cruise’s character, one that rubs off on the film itself, whether that be in a quick glare, a sharp comment or the ever-lingering sexual tension between Cage and Vrataski, in what is his most enjoyable performance – because it is so different – since his hilarious cameo in Tropic Thunder as the enigmatic Les Grossman.
It may not be the most original idea but there is an intelligence to Edge of Tomorrow – both in style and substance – that makes it a thoroughly enjoyable and engaging watch. The films ending is its biggest question mark, although the blunt nature of its last few seconds was a fitting closing point, however Liman, Cruise and gang have proven that a modern day sci-fi can still make for an exciting spectacle.