To be blunt (pun intended), I did not expect to like The Edge of Tomorrow. The trailer was enough for me to write the film off as just another action film, or as I actually put it, “something only my teenage brothers would like.” Tom Cruise in a blather of noise and gunfire, with Emily Blunt as that one hot girl who serves no real purpose except to be goggled at.
From such low expectations, perhaps it is possible that even the smallest plot twist or display of acting skill would have made me think this is a great film. But I really mean it. It’s definitely not a classic, but does make for a good movie night.
At first the premise seems typical Hollywood-action silly. Major William Cage (Cruise) is forcibly drafted into the final frontier of a global army against an alien race which has invaded Earth. The attack is futile, but Cage gets stuck in a Groundhog Day-style time loop (if you haven’t seen Groundhog Day by the way, it’s good). He relives the same day over and over, giving him time to figure out how human beings can win the fight. Yes, you do have to suspend disbelief a great deal to enjoy this narrative. But there are other qualities that I wasn’t expecting and which made the film fun to watch.
Firstly, there is the fact that this is a visually stunning film. The explosion of the war zone, the fluid, squid-like aliens and Tom Cruise’s battle outfit all look amazing, making the film easy to watch. At times, it has the feel of a high-quality video game.
Director Doug Liman and editor James Herbert have also skilfully cut the movie so that the endless repetition of the single day does not feel repetitive. Each time Cage dies, the audience is given new information about what happens before, during and away from the battle. But what was most interesting was that the movie was light-hearted at times. Once or twice, I even laughed out loud.
William Cage is not a typical soldier but a PR man for the army that is in the war against his will, which makes him a more interesting character to watch and creates the opportunities for a few laughs as he learns to fight.
While this isn’t a ‘must-see’, keep in mind that the Edge of Tomorrow is not nearly as cliché as it initially appears. It is actually very entertaining!