fri 23/08/2019

Edge of Tomorrow | reviews, news & interviews

Edge of Tomorrow

Edge of Tomorrow

Cruise is killed and killed again in a playful sci-fi battle

Here we go again: Cage (Tom Cruise) and Rita (Emily Blunt)

Tom Cruise has smugly saved the day in dozens of films. In Edge of Tomorrow, he utterly fails to save the same day dozens of times, dying and trying again, in a loop caused by being plastered in the time-warping blood of one of the aliens currently occupying Western Europe.

Director Doug Liman has great fun with this just-go-with-it conceit, from the moment cowardly Army PR Major Cage (Cruise) reports for duty at United Defence Force’s London HQ. General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson, either silently seething or chuckling at the giant UDF sign behind him) finds Cage so insufferable he has him arrested as a deserter and chucked, wholly untrained, into the following morning’s D-Day-style landings in France. Cage is duly slaughtered by the alien Mimics, along with the whole, ambushed invasion force. But then he’s back in the evening before, resetting and replaying and improving it, each time he dies. Eventually, he enlists army poster girl Rita (Emily Blunt), the heroic Angel of Verdun of his PR campaign - Full Metal Bitch to the squaddies who fear and revere her. She’s has a taste of Mimic blood too, but forgets Cage again on every reset. Something like romance still blooms, in their endless day together.

Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s source novel All You Need Is Kill has been adapted by Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects, and Cruise’s right-hand writer) and Jez and John-Henry Butterworth, Jerusalem Jez’s cinema career now rapidly gaining pace. They agilely switch the looped story’s pace, keeping the repetition surprising. Liman’s love of World War Two films gives his s.f. narrative a traditional feel, from the air fleet flying over the White Cliffs of Dover for a parachute-style assault on France, to the red-bereted old-timer shaming Cage back into the fray in a Farringdon pub. Wholly filmed in the UK, Cruise’s clout lets him land a helicopter in Trafalgar Square, and a sense of everyday reality in London and France makes fantastic scenes of a drowned Louvre and alien-infested sand-dunes more impressive.

Cruise’s enduring athleticism makes this often irritating actor a comfortingly solid presence, while Blunt’s pumped-up physique and sullenness convince as a soldier. The way the cowardly, incompetent Cage quickly becomes Rita’s superior as if by masculine right is, though, typical of a film unwilling to follow its most stimulating ideas through. The sight of a bored Rita shooting the protesting, crawling Cage in the head every time he’s injured (because healing transfusions remove the Mimic blood’s magic) is much more amusing than the straight Cruise vs. aliens battle with which Liman concludes. The wild improbabilities of that climax have been standard Cruise fare since he outraced a fireball inferno down a tunnel in Mission: Impossible.

There’s a sense that everyone’s had their fun playing with time and killing Tom Cruise. Now, though, the massive budget requires Hollywood convention to kick in. Just imagine if Liman had given Butterworth his head - ours, and Cruise’s, might still be spinning. 

Overleaf: watch the trailer for Edge of Tomorrow

The sight of a bored Rita shooting the protesting, crawling Cage in the head every time he’s injured is much more amusing

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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