Edge of Tomorrow Review

8 Overall Score
Performances : 8/10
Direction : 8/10
Writing : 7/10

Blunt and Cruise, Balanced Tone, Visual Style

The Ending

I talked to three separate people in advance of the release of Edge of Tomorrow who said they wanted to see the movie exclusively because it features Tom Cruise dying over and over again. That harsh sentiment speaks to the obliterating mutilation Mr. Cruise has done to his public image in the past decade. From his tumultuous and highly publicized marriage to Katie Holmes to his couch-jumping antics on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” to his supposed strong ties to the controversial Church of Scientology, Cruise’s public persona has morphed from charismatic leading man to a not-so-closeted wackjob. Having said all of that, there are few actors who are better at picking films to star in, as very few of Cruise’s films have been duds. He knows how to select scripts that showcase his considerable amounts of talent and screen presence. Edge of Tomorrow is the latest entry into the Cruise canon, and it’s one of the more impressive entries.

Edge takes place in an alternate reality, where humanity is at war with a group of all-powerful alien creatures known as Mimics. Cruise plays Major William Cage, an officer in public affairs who is thrust into the middle of a massive battle between the soldiers of Earth and the Mimics. The battle is decidedly one-sided, as the Mimics destroy our military forces. Cage is seemingly killed in the fight, but ends up resurrecting to a day before the battle. Cage has found himself in a time loop, allowing himself to relive the fight over and over again before being killed and rebooting to the day before. As Cage continues to fight he improves as a soldier, and with the help of Sergeant Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), one of the leaders of the human struggle who understands Cage’s issue, he can help the humans defeat the Mimics once and for all.

Edge of Tomorrow is based on a Japanese novel titled All You Need is Kill (the original title of the film) and was adapted by acclaimed Usual Suspects writer Christopher McQuarrie. The film plays like a mix of Groundhog Day and Aliens, an already clever mashup that is made even more intriguing by the solid adaptation. The film realizes the potential of the premise, and plays with the concept in several fun and exciting ways that not only entertain, but builds suspense for our characters. Speaking of characters, the script makes a point to keep the number of them low. This allows Will and Rita to share the focus, a smart move in a film whose nature is based on repetition and shouldn’t be wasting its time on other less important characters.

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Cruise does deserve major props here, as he’s playing a character slightly out of type. The film starts with his character not as the action star, but as a smart-mouthed official who shies away from battle and is kind of a coward. He eventually does develop into the expected action star we’ve come to expect, but before that point it’s more than amusing Cruise to participate in frequent comedic moments (a lot of them of the physical type). Despite the star’s efforts, however, it is Blunt who steals the movie. She’s becoming more and more comfortable in this role of the female action hero, one that we saw her start to develop in 2012’s Looper. Her character’s no-nonsense, embattled attitude gives the film a surprising amount of edge (pun intended). The two leads have a strong chemistry, developing a relationship that is not necessarily built on romantic interests but platonic respect. Their interactions are the needed emotional punch that give the film substance beyond fun sci-fi actioner.

Tomorrow is directed by Doug Liman, who found success in the action genre with 2002’s The Bourne Identity and 2005’s Mr. and Mrs. Smith. This is his best film, as he finds a way to balance the action and comedy with a delicacy so that it never discredits the other. The action setpieces are extremely well choreographed, and surprisingly never grow repetitive in a film where that is the very core of the story. The visual imagery evokes the grittiness of the battle; Liman’s film looks dirty and grungy to evoke the desolation and devastation at hand in this war.

For all of its strengths, Edge of Tomorrow’s final score suffers from one major flaw; its disappointing ending. The film’s first two-thirds are as excited, fun, and clever as any film released this summer. In that last act, however, the film becomes a little lost in its own plot complications, ultimately building to a climax that I found very unsatisfying. It’s not a horrible ending by any means, but it’s too confusing and safe for a film that had been bold and streamlined throughout.

Despite this major issue, Edge of Tomorrow serves as a very pleasant surprise in an already great summer. The trailers to the film do a good job at showcasing the action at hand, but don’t sell the entire package. In reality, this a fun, surprisingly funny, and constantly clever thrill ride that benefits immensely from its two lead stars. Edge of Tomorrow is the type of experience you’ll want to have over and over again.

 

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Author: Andrew Auger View all posts by
Andrew Auger is a student at Marist College and is majoring in Journalism. He is a huge fan of movies, and considers the late film critic Roger Ebert his idol. He hopes to one day be a prestigious film critic just like Mr. Ebert.

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