Words: Katy Quigley
Tom Cruise has always been a bankable action man. Despite his many detractors and the publicity his somewhat odd personal life invites audiences still come out in the droves to see our man flex his muscles and in Edge of Tomorrow those audiences should find an enjoyable, if somewhat patchy film.
Cruise stars as William Cage, an advertising professional forced into combat with a seemingly impenetrable alien enemy after an unfortunate meeting with Brendan Gleeson’s General Brigham. Operating as essentially a war zone Groundhog Day our reluctant hero is given the ability through a rather grisly death to relive the last 24 hours every time he is killed either at the hands of the enemy or through sheer bad luck. Cage decides to use his power to help Rita Vrataski, known as ‘the Angel of Verdun’ thanks to killing over 100 mimics during a particularly epic battle, destroy the enemy. It soon becomes clear she knows exactly why Cage is able to rewind time and begins training him to enact a final battle which will end the war once and for all.
Edge of Tomorrow will find it hard to shrug off comparisons to other time loop movies such as Groundhog Day and Source Code but it is able to hold its head high amongst such illustrious company. The physics behind such a feat as being able to turn back time are wisely brushed over. They are explained briefly and the rules that are set up are, for the most part, kept to. Cruise offers a relatable and interesting lead in the form of Cage, who begins the film out of his depth and terrified and ends it an embattled veteran, clinging as hard as he can to Rita, the one person who can relate to him. Emily Blunt is fantastic as the hardened soldier who shuns niceties and affection to get the job at hand completed. The relationship that builds between the two of them is hard to pull off – whist Cage knows an increasing amount about Rita, growing to care for her in the process, Rita knows little about him. As a consequence the brewing relationship never really rings true and the final scenes with them sit uneasily with the audience.
Using the time loop plot device also essentially offers the opportunity for Cage to go back to a safe point like one would in a computer game so he can use his newly found knowledge to come up with creative ways of destroying the enemy. This works surprisingly well, with just the right amount of training montage balanced with the horrors of war, though it is worth noting that Blunt tends to die in ways that make her look astonishingly serene considering the rather dehumanising setting. The time loop also leads to quite a bit of humour and Cage’s impatience when dealing with the mundane aspects of reliving the same day over and over again, such as meeting someone he has already been introduced to several hundred times, feels natural and understandable.
The major fault with Edge of Tomorrow other than the faltering relationship between Cage and Rita is the dreadful ending which appears to have been tagged on and has no relation to the ‘physics’ which explained Cage’s ability to start the day over again. It is a shame that the need for a somewhat happier ending managed to ruin what the rest of the film had worked so hard to achieve. Ultimately though Edge of Tomorrow is an enjoyable and interesting film starring an engaging cast and one I would recommend watching.