My gut instincts for ‘Edge Of Tomorrow’, directed by Doug Liman, was that it would be an underwhelming, middle-of-the-road, sci-fi movie which would make a quick buck and disappear into the Hollywood ether. Maybe it’s because the director’s other works skirt round the edge of mediocrity, or maybe it’s because Tom Cruise’s more recent output has been so underwhelming. Either way, I was not expecting much.
It is with surprise then, that I can tell you that this film is actually very good. The story centres on Tom Cruise as military officer Cage (terrible name), who is brought into an alien war against an extraterrestrial enemy who have the ability to reset our days on Earth and in turn, know the future. When Cage inherits this same power, he teams up with a Special Forces warrior named Rita, played by Emily Blunt, in a bid to end the war.
The premise of the same day repeating itself is intriguing, even if it does borrow its core idea from ‘Groundhog Day’. It is utilised for some funny moments throughout the film, particularly as Cage tries to escape the military camp, only to be constantly killed at different points during his escape attempt.
Cruise’s character is an interesting one, believe it or not. He is a man who is hard and uncompromising about war and its morals, but this is all before he actually has to fight in one. He is, if you will, a keyboard warrior; a soldier of the boardroom who can make the tough decisions easily without ever really experiencing the consequences. As soon as he is thrust into a combat zone he shows his true character; a coward. It would be hard to like this man if it were not for Tom Cruise’s undeniable likeability.
I know he has his critics, particularly about his personal life, but I have no interest in what Tom Cruise, the man, is like. All I will judge is how good he is in his roles, and I think there are few actors out there that show the commitment, professionalism and passion for his projects, even if they aren’t all great. We forget how good he can be in films like ‘Magnolia’ and the underrated ‘Minority Report’. Cruise is a model professional of the Hollywood machine, and although recent ventures have not been great – ‘Knight And Day’ for example – you get the feeling that he actually really cares about his work. It’s refreshing to see, because I have now become desensitised to actors who are coasting through films, just waiting for their pay cheque.
Tom Cruise is great in ‘Edge Of Tomorrow’, and so is Emily Blunt, who is fast becoming one of my favourite actresses. She has shown her range in comedy films like ‘The Five-Year Engagement’, low-key drama such as ‘Your Sister’s Sister’ and other science-fiction films like ‘Looper’. She is incredibly watchable on the big screen and she lights up every scene she is in.
It is also refreshing to see Doug Liman, who started out making decent movies like ‘Swingers’, present us with an entertaining science-fiction flick. His filmography is varied, such as the woeful ‘Jumper’, or ‘The Bourne Identity’, which verges on brilliance. However, I think ‘Edge Of Tomorrow’ is Liman’s finest work. The story is told with precision and efficiency, and the direction feels effortless despite the obvious complexity of the film.
Some of the battle sequences are breathtaking, although I would have liked to have seen more edgy violence, but I can forgive this due to the indisputable entertainment value. It’s not the most original science-fiction movie, but it is one of the better ones of recent years and Cruise finally has a vehicle worthy of his talent, that is not already a franchise.
Director: Doug Liman
Starring: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt