Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

“Fascinating Concept and Unexpectedly Poignant” 8/10

Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) has never been involved in combat when he suddenly finds himself fighting on the front line against an alien army and being killed.  However, he mysteriously awakens to relive the same day again, over and over.  With the help of warrior Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt) he begins to learn about the alien enemy and is able to memorise how the day plays out, each repetition and death bringing him closer to defeating the aliens and saving humanity.

I was drawn to this film by the concept, which I thought was fascinating, the idea of reliving the same day over and over, not only learning from your mistakes and being able to correct them, but also exploring a vast ocean of possibilities for every action that is changed.  I didn’t expect the film to go any deeper than that in terms of a greater meaning, but was pleasantly surprised.  It introduces its ideas as the great solution I’m sure most people have considered, how great it would be if you could relive a certain day or period of your life and change your mistakes, and then slowly started to peel away the perfect façade and show the truth – no matter how many times Cage lives that one day and no matter how many errors he corrects, there is always something right around the corner to trip him up again.  I felt that it shed a lot of light on the frustrations of the human condition – that deep down we are all perfectionists who live with regrets and dream of the chance to change them.  In the final half hour of the film there is a real unexpected poignancy to the story that jumps out of the midst of Tom Cruise in his typical character, tough and determined, always the perfect blend of the underdog and the hero.  I think I would have enjoyed the film if it had simply consisted of that but I was impressed at the thought that had actually gone into what is a fascinating base line for a story.

The special effects in the film are decent and I liked the jumpy nature of the scenes, complementing the jumpiness of Cage’s day loop, and despite the vast majority of the film being of the exact same day it does a terrific job of making each scene different each time he experiences it again whilst keeping the underlying frustration of the repetition, which was really key for such a film.  It held my interest the whole way through and makes a neat job of linking all the key scenes and keeping to a timeline that is really easy to keep up with.  Tom Cruise is well versed in the role he adopts in this but that’s not a criticism, I thought he was very convincing and gave the film a strong performance, although he was often outshone by Emily Blunt who’s character Rita is probably one of the strongest female leads I’ve seen in a film of this genre and she gave a really commendable performance, offering a subtle balance of tough yet vulnerable that so many sci fi films often get wrong.  Their two characters complemented each other perfectly, changing and evolving over the course of the story as they influence one another, and given that they are in the entire film with very little in the way of more minor characters to boost them up I think the depth of the characters was excellent and the pairing of Cruise and Blunt was the right choice for this film.

Edge of Tomorrow is fast paced and clever, with a fascinating concept that is also unexpectedly poignant and strong main leads.  I went in expecting to be entertained and I left also with some deeper thoughts about the ever-interesting human condition.  If you like your sci fi films to be smart as well as strong then definitely give this one a shot.