Edge of Tomorrow is a film which seems to have been timed for release to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings because that’s essentially what’s on show here, although the Germans have been replaced by aliens.
After discussing the impending assault with General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson), Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) inadvertently finds himself taking part in it, despite never having trained in combat. He’s cleverly dumped into a situation where everyone thinks he’s a new recruit, so he gets treated like something that’s been scraped off a shoe by Master Sergeant Farell (Bill Paxton) and there’s not much love from J-Squad, with whom he’s teamed up. After a much-needed training session, it’s the day of the assault. Everyone seems to get picked off one by one, Cage blows away a few aliens but then one towers over him just after being shot, and drips acidic blood all over his face, killing him. Nice!
For reasons he doesn’t yet know, he reincarnates back on base, to the point where he’s arrived as a new recruit, eventually thinking he can convince them he shouldn’t be there due to his real rank, and save his own selfish hide. Since this doesn’t look like it’s going to be the case, he’s forced to ‘reset the day’ and live it again to try and complete the assault. One day he meets Rita (Emily Blunt), known as the “Full Metal Bitch”, and after he gets across his repetitive plight to her, she tells him to come and find her when he next dies and wakes up again. We learn that she used to be in the same boat, but as we learn, Rita also had the ability to live/die/repeat’, as the film’s tagline gives it. Hence, if she couldn’t get from A to B to sort out the baddies, then she would have to bump herself off if that situation hadn’t already occurred. For reasons you’ll discover during the film, she no longer possesses this ‘gift’, so it’s basically up to Cruise to save the day, as usual.
Everyone in the main cast is on top form here.
Emily Blunt is always stunning, and clearly has spent a lot of time in the gym to perfect her ‘guns’ (above), something the film never tires of showing us, as it often replays the time when the two leads first meet, just as she’s exercising. Her recent Graham Norton Show appearance, sadly, proved that she hasn’t kept up the work.
Paxton is fantastic as the Master Sargeant you’ll love to hate, really enjoying the care-free authorian role.
Brendan Gleeson’s appearance as the General who sends Cage into battle is far from a stand-out role in any way, and the screen time is brief, but it’s a testament to just how good Gleeson is that Hollywood picked him for a role in a major blockbuster over all manner of actors they could’ve chosen.
And there’s good support from the members of the J-Squad cast, including Jonas Armstrong (Robin Hood) and Tony Way (Sightseers), whose relationship with their new recruit will be unveiled as you watch it.
Oh, and I went to see this film in 2D, because that’s how it was filmed. Yes, there are 3D and IMAX versions out there, but none of it was shot in 3D – all that was added in post-production – and absolutely none of it was filmed with IMAX cameras, either, so you’re paying extra for nothing at all.
Go to page 2 for more thoughts on the film.
I had high hopes for Edge of Tomorrow after director Doug Liman‘s previous work on the similarly engaging films Go, Mr & Mrs Smith, and the first Jason Bourne film (why didn’t he stick around for the others? Paul Greengrass made a hopeless mess of them!) and I was so glad when he didn’t disappoint. (Okay, well, 2008’s Jumper was a definite mis-step, but anyway)
There’s also comedic potential in the ‘groundhog day’ effect of Cage having to relive the same day over and over, of which this movie makes great use.
I’ve rated this film highly because it’s the first summer blockbuster which actually delivers what it promises. There’s action from start to finish, either continuously or peppered throughout, so even if you’re not wholly satisfied by the occasional requirement for some exposition, then it won’t be long until another does of CRASH/BANG/WALLOP is on its way.
Edge of Tomorrow‘s premise, with Cruise having to relive the same day, until he gets everything right, reminded me of playing Dragon’s Lair in the arcade. Time after time, you work through each level, trying to figure out the precise route to safety until you can reach the final level and rescue Princess Daphne. Sadly, there’s no Daphne, but there is Emily Blunt. She’s not trapped in a giant bubble and guarded by a dragon, but you get the idea.
One thing that did seem odd is that the end credits begin with the recent-ish pop song “Love Me Again” by John Newman. Obviously, this has been thrown in because (a) there’s a tenuous link with “again” and a film where certain events repeat a lot, and (b) they want to get ‘down wiv da kids’ by instilling a tune that the yoof of today will recognise. This seemed probably the most ill-fitting choice of end credit music since 1992’s Single White Female ended with Donna Summer’s State of Independence. It just didn’t sit right. And on my way home from seeing this latest Tom Cruise movie, I heard Real Radio XS (why did they change their name from Rock Radio?) play Genesis’ Land of Confusion (below). Sure, it’s a much older song, but the lyrics felt a damn sight more fitting.
And one other observation which requires spoiler tags, so don’t read if you haven’t seen the film:
Running time: 113 minutes
Released: May 30th 2014
Format: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic Panavision)
Director: Doug Liman
Producers: Jason Hoffs, Gregory Jacobs, Tom Lassally, Jeffrey Silver and Erwin Stoff
Screenplay: Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth and John-Henry Butterworth (based on the novel “All You Need Is Kill” by Hiroshi Sakurazaka)
Music: Christophe Beck
Cage: Tom Cruise
Rita: Emily Blunt
General Brigham: Brendan Gleeson
Master Sergeant Farell: Bill Paxton
Skinner: Jonas Armstrong
Kimmel: Tony Way
Griff: Kick Gurry
Ford: Franz Drameh
Kuntz: Dragomir Mrsic
Nance: Charlotte Riley
Takeda: Masayoshi Haneda
Cruel Sergeant: Terence Maynard
Dr. Carter: Noah Taylor
Karen Lord: Lara Pulver
Julie: Madeleine Mantock
Infirmary Nurse: Assly Zandry
Young Soldier: Sebastian Blunt
Secretary – Iris: Beth Goddard
Granddaughter: Grace Hogg-Robinson
Dr. Whittle: Marianne Jean-Baptiste (uncredited)
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.
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