Edge of Tomorrow
Director: Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity)
Screenplay: Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects), et al.
Cast: Tom Cruise (Top Gun), Emily Blunt (Looper)
Runtime: 113 min.
by John DeSando
“What I am about to tell you sounds crazy. But you have to listen to me. Your very lives depend on it. You see, this isn't the first time.” Lt. Col. Bill Cage (Tom Cruise)
Although Edge of Tomorrow could have felt like Source Code on steroids or living Groundhog Day over and over, it doesn’t. Thanks to The Usual Suspect’s writer, Christopher McQuarrie, and his colleagues, this sci-fi engages your mind with scenarios that repeat but don’t get old because the film doesn’t either, despite the fact that the repetitive cycling through past and present has been worked over in film ad nauseam.
Cage (Tom Cruise) is a soldier in a battle against Mimics, spider-octopus-like creatures doing a successful job taking over earth. That Cage begins as a reluctant combatant is a chance for the usually heroic Cruise to play against type. As much as we dislike the cowardly Cage, he retains his sense of humor and the trademark Cruise self deprecation. In other words, Cruise is the linchpin of the film’s success.
Yet, Emily Blunt as Rita, the global soldier-hero, commands attention next to Cruise because she’s a demur actress who steps up to a warrior role and gives some of Cruise’s sense of humor companionship. More than that nuance is the low-key romance between the two warriors, an all-business attitude strong and sexy in its minimalism.
While the plot requires some attention, and I consider that a plus, the demons are hardly unique, and their mother source hidden on earth is nothing new in fighting screen aliens either. What saves the repetitive trope is the sardonic script and superior acting, not forgetting that the estimable Brendan Gleeson plays the stodgy general who makes sure Major Cage is Private Cage. In addition, James Herbert’s (Sherlock Holmes) editing from past to present is smooth and flawless.
For those of you who would like to see Cruise die multiple times, this is the film for you. For those of us who have enjoyed his knowing swagger and youthful energy, he is, in his early 50’s, a film star who can.
John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.rr.com