Thursday, May 29, 2014

Movie Review: Edge of Tomorrow

Genre: Sci-fi
Director: Doug Liman
Rating: **** (4.5 out of 5)

The marketing tagline “Live. Die. Repeat.” sums up the story adapted from Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s 2004 novel All You Need is Kill. Lieutenant William Cage (Tom Cruise) finds himself in a Normandy-like beach invasion by an alien race called the Mimics. Each time Cage dies in combat, however, he wakes up and lives the same day again. Like a video game player, he gets better with each try and progresses from one level to the next. His encounter with heroine Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), who once experienced the same Groundhog Day time loop, reveals what has happened to him and how he can use his time-manipulating ability to win the war.

Edge of Tomorrow by Doug Liman

Taking the bold sci-fi story to the big screen is no easy feat. One wrong move and the film adaptation can become unbearably tedious – the audience has to watch the same day play out over and over again. That’s why Warner Brothers put veteran director Doug Liman in charge. Liman is credited for creating the critically acclaimed Bourne franchise and making such smart standalones as Go and Mr. and Mrs. Smith. He has a knack for infusing the perfect balance of humor and dramatic tension into big pyrotechnic action sequences. Incidentally, humor and dramatic tension are precisely what it takes to pull off a plot that goes into an infinite loop.

Casting Tom Cruise in a movie has always been a risky proposition. While the 51-year-old is a convincing action hero, he has the tendency to make every film about himself. Over time, he becomes a kind of distraction that takes the audience out of the movie. To avoid turning Edge of Tomorrow into yet another Minority Report or Oblivion, the actor tries his best to dial back his “Tom Cruise-ness” and let the brainteaser plot line be the film’s real star. For the most part he manages to do just that, which not only saves the film but also makes it one of his recent best.

Hiroshi Sakurasaka's original novel

Emily Blunt – who is Cruise’s 20 years junior – became Hollywood's "It" girl after her break out role in The Devil Wears Prada. Since then, she has starred in a run of second tier romantic comedies like The Five-Year Engagement and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. Here, Blunt holds her own playing a steely Joan of Arc. But she is no Sigourney Weaver or Carrie-Anne Moss. There are moments when you wonder whether she is charismatic – or indeed photogenic – enough for the role.

In the end none of that matters, because Doug Liman and his team of screenwriters have done such a brilliant job making the story hang together. The film draws you in and earns your respect scene by scene, one new day at a time. It is the best sci-fi entry so far this year and deserves to be watched in 3D on an IMAX screen. And since the movie is so much fun to watch, we will forgive the plot holes and the hasty feel-good ending. We will even forgive that the squid-like aliens, with their many tentacles and propensity to spin, look suspiciously like the Sentinels in The Matrix trilogy. 

He makes everything about himself


  1. My son is taking his friends to watch it for his party on Sunday. I am joining them as I wouldn't miss Tom Cruise for the world.


  2. Oi. Emily Blunt's not 'photogenic enough'?? What's she supposed to look like?


  3. Don't you think her head is disproportionately small? I couldn't say that in my review but there, I just said it. ;-)


  4. I don't even remember Emily Blunt played a role in "The Devil Wears Prada" if you don't mentioned it on your review.


  5. One of the best, most intelligent, most exciting and surprisingly funny special effects-laden epics I have seen in several summers. A model of cinematic craftsmanship from page to screen.

  6. Smart, unpredictable, expertly designed, shot and edited, well acted and boasting impressive special effects, "Edge of Tomorrow" is science fiction and the summer blockbuster done right.