4 out of 5 stars
Ground Hog Day, Source Code, War of the Worlds and Saving Private Ryan rolled into one film. Yet, it is a fun, thought provoking and original film.
The challenge of writing a summary for Edge of Tomorrow has the potential for a multitude of spoilers. The concept has illusions to other films like Groundhog Day, Source Code and even, Saving Private Ryan, but know that this film is original in concept. Within moments of the opening, the story of Edge of Tomorrow is viewed through the lens of world wide news footage. A meteor has landed on earth and an alien invasion has begun. Throughout the opening footage we are introduced to actual newscasters, military leaders and Major Bill Cage (Tom Cruise) who is a key figure in the promotion of a new weapon that assists in the defence against this alien force, Mimics. Cruise plays a flawed character that finds himself in a difficult situation at the front line of the battle. It is disarming to see him in this type of role, but it is refreshing to see him playing a vulnerable character. Through his awkward introduction to infantry life he is confronted with the alien invaders and, with a nod toward the opening scenes of Saving Private Ryan, Cage dies. Now, before you are upset about a potential spoiler, understand that after dying he is instantly taken back to a memorable opening scene where he is introduced to Master Sargent Farrell (played brilliantly by Bill Paxton) and to his company, J squad. The repetition of life is the primary hook of the film, a Groundhog Day experience for Cage. The rest of the film takes us through his attempts to learn and motivate the people around him to find a way to defeat the alien invaders.
Doug Limon (Bourne Identity, Mr. & Mrs. Smith) directs a well crafted character-driven, action film. There is a fine balance of battle scenes and intrigue into the central characters as they attempt to win back Europe. The action sequences pay homage to this generation's gaming world, but remain within the stark world of a style reminiscent of District 9. Even with the hyper-action sequences, the value of the direction comes with the character development of Cage and Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt). Blunt has a strength on screen that surpasses her actual physical stature. She has a commanding presence as the poster child of the military effort. The chemistry between Cruise and Blunt is electrifying without having to develop unnecessary sexual tension. There is enough of a romantic flavour to appeal to any audience, but it does not distract from the primary storyline. They are surrounded by an engaging support cast that adds to the intensity of the war, but allows for a levity that is needed to move the story along. Brendan Gleeson’s (Calvary) turn as General Bringham was a touch of inspired military steel and arrogance that gives the story the needed moral tension. The plot moves along at a rapid, but manageable pace, which leaves you wanting more at the end.
Due to the multiple references to other films, it may leave the reader with the idea that this is an unoriginal film. This is not the case with Edge of Tomorrow, it stands on its own as an original and entertaining film. One of the pleasant twists to this genre is the film setting. It is not centred on a city within the United States and it includes an appealing mix of international characters. Honestly, haven't we seen the White House destroyed or attacked enough in recent films? Limon's film is not perfect, primarily due to the rush to the conclusion. Even with the convoluted original premise, the story is held together well, but the eventual conclusion comes so fast it stretches the believability of the film. Yet, the finish does not diminish the value of this film. Another minor story issue is the cities of supposed population density prior to the invasion seem to be missing people. Limon does not explain how the aliens completely eliminate all forms of humanity in their wake. These are minor story challenges, but they do not take away from the film. This character-driven, action film is a refreshing choice to this sequel laden year of cinema.
- What is it about death that we should consider and should we fear it? (Romans 5:17, John 14:6)
- What is the difference between reincarnation and resurrection? (Acts 2:31-33)
- Who is the Alpha and Omega and what does it mean? (Revelation 1)