By the name, it may sound like a 1970’s American daytime soap opera, but Edge of Tomorrow is an action-packed sci-fi thriller. Taking place in the near future where an alien race is levelling the worlds most beautiful cities and making mincemeat out of the best military forces, desk jocky Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) pisses off the wrong general and finds himself suddenly shipped off to the front lines for what is certainly a suicide mission for him. Given no training, he doesn’t even know how to operate his equipment and is quickly killed, except that in the process he gets caught in a time-loop that allows him to relive that day over and over again. He hooks up with Special Forces poster-girl Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), and together they train Cage to fight and eak out strategy by making very slight tweaks to his every move on the battlefield, one day at a time. Without giving away too much, this sets up a dramatic showdown with the aliens in a desperate fight to save earth. Sound exciting? It is.
Though hardly the first film to use a time-loop storyline, EOT is pretty unique and well executed thanks to a great script. Despite having such a small loop (the time shift is only one day), the story successfully avoids what would be the most obvious trap: seeming repetitive. In fact, it’s not at all. Although each time reset sees the same characters and situations, Cage takes advantage of having unlimited second chances and the dialogue and interactions are totally different each time, and often hilarious. Even though it is a looping storyline, it unfolds in a somewhat linear manner and at some point the looping stops and carries on towards a thrilling climax.
As expected for a big-budget summer blockbuster like this, it is heavy on visual effects. Though they are quite good and play a great supporting role, it is the unique storyline that actually carries the film. The alien creatures themselves are very cool, a unique hybrid of synthetic and organic beings, and have a very unique motion that looks sort of like a live octopus in a frying pan. The overall art direction and production design is excellent and effectively create a unique vision of the near future, with many of the most iconic locations in the world (like London and Paris) transformed by the apocalypse.
One pleasant surprise about EOT was Tom Cruise. Not my favourite actor, he was actually quite good and surprisingly funny, and in the end I had to accept that he was a good casting choice for the Cage role which sees the character evolve from a cowardly beurocrat to true soldier. Emily Blunt as Rita is fantastic, as well as a number of other very memorable performances like Bill Paxton as Cage’s Master Sargent. These great performances, cool visual effects and art direction, a unique story, and a very good script are all the right ingredients for a great sci-fi action thriller. In the very capable hands of director Doug Liman (Bourne Identity, Mr. and Mrs. Smith), it doesn’t disappoint. It delivers what an action-thriller should by building tension through to a very exciting climax that, once it was all over, left some in the audience applauding…and me taking a deep breath.
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::: Renowned For Sound Technical Director and Film Reviewer ::: Robert is an IT geek, movie fan and part-time movie reviewer/editor. Robert also looks after the ‘behind the scenes’ technical elements of Renowned For Sound.