Edge Of Tomorrow (2014)

Edge Of TomorrowFollowing a devastating meteor strike, an alien parasite has invaded Earth and made short work of the human race. Major William Cage (Tom Cruise), a media officer for the military, is summoned by his superior (Brendan Gleeson) and informed that he is to follow the last regiments into battle. Unwilling to comply, Cage attempts to blackmail him, but this quickly backfires as he is branded a deserter, demoted to private and left to deploy with everyone else. Five minutes into battle, however, his regiment is overwhelmed and William Cage is killed, only for him to wake up hours earlier ready to live the day again. Through innumerable repetitions of D-day, Cage learns that the aliens have the ability to time-travel — which explains the speed with which they have overwhelmed humanity — and that by inadvertently killing an ‘Alpha’ he has inherited that ability. Seeking tutelage from Full Metal Bitch, Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), a soldier familiar with the phenomenon, Cage learns to control his newfound power and plots to use it against the enemy.

Based on Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s novel, All You Need Is Kill, but subsequently renamed Edge of Tomorrow for its theatrical release, Doug Liman’s latest film is a melting pot of influences and a hodgepodge of homages to other, often better movies. Take the time-travel mechanics from Groundhog Day, the creature classifications from Starship Troopers and the creature designs from Grabbers and you have Edge Of Tomorrow, not so much a derivation as a two-hour-long sense of deja vu. You’ve got the grass-roots perspective from Battle: Los Angeles, the aesthetic of The Matrix (the real world sections, anyway) and the foghorn cues from Hans Zimmer’s Inception OST. Some have suggested that Edge of Tomorrow is really a video game movie at heart — that the resets aren’t anything to do with time-travel but rather a return to the last save point as in most platformers — but really that’s ascribing it an originality that it simply doesn’t have.

What is remarkable about Edge Of Tomorrow, however, are the characters that inhabit it. As with The Bourne Identity, Mr and Mrs Smith and even Jumper, Liman has used cliché and contrivance to establish a familiar world only to have his audience view it through rather less familiar eyes. Jason Bourne wasn’t your typical secret agent, the Smith’s were more than just spies and David Rice wasn’t predisposed to use his superpowers for the betterment of mankind. Similarly, Cage isn’t your usual grunt, but instead a cowardly officer who — given the chance — would sooner betray his country than defend it. As character arcs go it is perhaps not the subtlest, but Cruise nevertheless succeeds in making it compelling. It’s Blunt who really shines, however, as someone who once had great power, has been shaped by it, but now must watch powerlessly as someone else seizes her destiny. She too is painted in relatively broad strokes — from Full Metal Bitch to sensitive love interest in the space of a day — but it’s just enough to set Edge Of Tomorrow apart from the norm.

While it’s easy enough to invest in the characters, the plot is somewhat harder to crack. The alien invaders are shown to be incredibly effective killers — with or without the upper-hand afforded them by time-travel — but you get very little sense of how they actually operate. These things bury under-ground, roll over-ground, can swim, and are able to fire projectiles; on the off-chance that their enemies manage to defy the odds and win the ‘Brain’ can simply reset time, having learnt their strategy and reformulated their tactics accordingly. Cage, and before him Vrataski, inherited this ability when they killed an Alpha, though the latter ultimately lost it when it — whatever it might be — left her bloodstream. It’s not entirely clear how she knows this (surely the only way to be sure would be to die and then not wake up again) or how it then entered Cage’s bloodstream (we only see the Alpha’s blood spatter his face), you just have to take the script’s word for it. The biggest problem is the ending, however — “How can they possible get out of this one?”, you might find yourself asking, after the fact, because thanks to scrappy editing and incomprehensible plotting it’s likely that you’ll never be quite sure of that either.

Edge Of Tomorrow is perfectly good fun, with some colourful characters and a time travel device that Liman gets a few good laughs out of. Expect any more than that, however, and you are bound to be disappointed. The film makes about as much sense as its title — either of them.

3-Stars

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About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

One Response to Edge Of Tomorrow (2014)

  1. Nostra says:

    Liked it more than you did, although I hated that ending…it just didn’t need that bit and would have been fine if they didn’t do it.

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