Edge of Tomorrow, directed by Doug Liman. Written by Christopher Mcquarrie, Jez Butterworth, and John-Henry Butterworth, based on the novel All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. Starring Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, and Brendan Gleeson. Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, 2014. Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language, and brief suggestive material. Running Time: 113 minutes.
Reviewed by Ari Armstrong
Edge of Tomorrow is the only film I know of in which a main hero shoots another hero in the head—and it’s hilarious. If you can’t imagine how such a scene could be riotously funny, then let the film’s storytellers help you imagine it.
Although the film’s sci-fi premise is standard fare—it involves aliens trying to take over the Earth—the filmmakers tell an intriguing story based on that premise, a story filled with intense wartime action, suspense, drama, and laughs.
In some ways, Edge of Tomorrow blends the stories of Independence Day, in which aliens invade the earth and humans fight back; and Groundhog Day, in which a man relives the same day over and over. But Edge combines these story lines in a fresh way that focuses on the characters; the film never feels derivative. The basic plot is that soldier William Cage (portrayed by Tom Cruise) must repeatedly try to find and destroy the alien entity organizing the assault; and to do this he must seek the help of Sergeant Rita Vrataski, a military hero (portrayed by Emily Blunt).
The film is especially excellent in four respects. It shows the moral development of Cage from a coward to an action-oriented hero; it touchingly portrays the friendship that develops between William and Rita; it shows futuristic military battles that feel intensely real; and, at times, it is extremely funny. This film had me alternately laughing out loud, gripping the arms of my chair, and shedding a tear.
The performances are outstanding. Cruise ably portrays a military man who progresses from a smooth-talking but whimpering bureaucrat to a take-charge action hero, and Blunt nails her role as a hard-edged military leader who is also, on rare occasions, emotionally vulnerable. The heart of the film is the relationship between those two characters. Bill Paxton is hilarious as the military leader charged with whipping Cage into battle condition. And Brendan Gleeson delivers a subtle performance as a military general far out of his depth in the war and often vindictive toward his colleagues.
My only complaint about the film is that I have to wait until October 7 to purchase the DVD so I can watch it again.