Eat Sleep Die Repeat
[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”][amazon text=Amazon&template=carousel&chan=That Film Guy&asin=B00BC36U58][/pullquote] Following Oblivion, Tom Cruise continues his jaunt into the science fiction genre with Edge of Tomorrow. Based on the novel All You Need is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka it is directed by Doug Limen, best known for The Bourne Identity.
In the near future, Earth has been invaded by alien forces and the best military units have been defeated. Major William Cage (Cruise), an untrained in combat military officer is deployed in a desperate fight against an alien incursion only to die within minutes. He then wakes up at the start of the day and is forced to live through it again and again, each time improving his training and increasing his chances of survival. Chance leads him to Special Forces Officer Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), a legendary soldier who experienced the same time-loop for an extended time until a blood transfusion stopped the ability.
Behind the glossy veneer of Edge of Tomorrow’s stunning effects lay some very familiar well-trod ground. There’s the obvious comparison to Groundhog Day, what with all the time-looping and repetitive days, but there’s also references to among other things Aliens (Bill Paxton on fine form as a marine again), Starship Troopers (the aliens have similar design) and of course Oblivion (It’s Tom Cruise and sci-fi). Where it departs from the latter is that it dispenses with the po-faced ‘serious’ science fiction angle and plays the plot as an almost science fiction, action comedy. Bold stuff.
Like the Harold Ramis rom-com, it finds ways to make knowledge of future events humourous. Cage knows exactly what’s going to happen and exactly what everyone is going to say. It’s a simple idea, but one that brings about some genuine laughs in the first half. There’s also the increasingly casual approach to death to consider. We’re never entirely sure how many times Cage goes through the various iterations of the same day, but at one point we are shown an entirely new set of events, which are chillingly played through with an air of someone rehearsing a play for the umpteenth time. It is at this point that it becomes apparent that even we, the audience are being left behind as Cage increases his training, skill and knowledge. Fortunately the ever-reliable Cruise is on hand to guide us through the pitfalls and tension.
Being the biggest movie star in the world, there’s an element of supposed cliche to Tom Cruise. In recent years, his vehicles for success have been poorly picked and he’s seen his stock fall in the face of the unstoppable deluge of superheroes and tween franchises. It is with a sigh of relief then that we finally have a Tom Cruise film and performance that it both entertaining and enjoyable. Harking back to his earlier career his portrayal of a smarmy ad exec’s rebirth as a tough-as-nails soldier is entirely believable. Not only that it has all the relevant snazzy fight scenes and even a touch of pathos and remorse. Not the best performance of his career, but one that reminds you exactly why he’s such an enduring Hollywood icon.
Alongside him is the always reliable Emily Blunt. Here she casually drops her nice Brit and acerbic power-hungry career woman persona in favour of a no-nonsense bad-ass, and she is equally as excellent. Versatility is key to becoming a major star and she has plenty of that. Being the equivalent of the straight-man to Cruise’s charmer is a tough act, but Blunt threatens to steal the film, while the chemistry between the two fizzes nicely, but never interrupts the actual plot.
The effects, lighting and sound are as you would expect superb for such a big Hollywood blockbuster, but even here Edge of Tomorrow steps away from the homogeny of recent popcorn fluff to present an entirely realised world for it’s characters to inhabit. Sure the plot doesn’t make too much sense if you stare at it long enough, but this witty, engaging and thoroughly entertaining sci-fi actioner more than holds it own against the various super-powered wise-crackers and Gods of thunder. It’s just fun, well-written film with bags of confidence and charm.