Review: The Edge of Tomorrow (And The Middle of Tom Cruise)

edgeoftomorrowposter.jpg

Edge of Tomorrow uses Tom Cruise to cleverly riff on the 'universal soldier,' resulting in a movie that’s more exciting than Oblivion but not as funny as Groundhog’s Day.

Based on the Hiroshi Sakurazaka novel “All You Need is Kill,” the film takes place after an alien invasion has begun expediently dispatching the earth’s population. The aliens, called “mimics,” aren’t given much screen time, though their biomechanical design is pretty intriguing (imagine the glowing love children of Venom and the twins from The Matrix).

When Media Officer William Cage (Cruise) meets General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson) on the eve of a futuristic D-Day, they plan for the worst. As (convoluted) damage control, Brigham sends Cage in with the first wave of the invasion. Untrained in anything but PR, Cage stumbles into combat and gets killed by precisely the right alien, then wakes up as if from a dream. This keeps happening and the sharp script by Christopher McQuarrie and Jez & John-Henry Butterworth makes the ineffectual carnage pretty hilarious, due in part to the fact we’ve seen so much of Tom Cruise in bullshit battle mode there’s something cathartic about watching him die on a loop. It’s almost penance.

Cruise must know he’s giving us a huge gift because he’s never been more fun to watch. Self-serious to a fault, his Private Cage dies and revives until he crosses paths with the “Angel of Verdun,” the war’s most decorated officer (Emily Blunt), and between the two they forge a way through the repetition to do something different enough to change the invasion. You can’t say the two are electric together, but their comic chemistry is delightfully humorless.

The end of humanity looms large and, by way of a story that will regenerate them, their deaths become ironic devices, first hilarious, then absurd, later frustrating and finally tragic. With all that carnage at play it’s hard to fit in character development but the bigger takeaway is that Edge of Tomorrow uses a massive body count to eventually make you value the lives lost. From the edge of desensitization comes concern and exhaustion, but it takes time to get passed spectacular catastrophe to reach compassion, and that’s a strange message from a movie in which Tom Cruise governs the fate of earth…then again, maybe we already live in that world.

Sara Vizcarrondo's Latest Blog Entries:

Production for The Two Faces of January began in Athens in August of 2012 and the first day was a major event. Director Hussein Amini planned to stage the...
With a cue from Mike Figgis and the digital revolution (oh, the handheld video and the synth tracks), South Korean provocateur Kim Ki-Duk has returned to his...
Last month, writer/director Paul Mazursky passed away and in honor of the late filmmaker the Landmark Theatre’s Anniversary Classic Series will screen Mazursky...
Around the Block is an Aussie Dangerous Minds with a smarter tack on the racial divide. Then again, maybe it looks that way because it’s easier to see racism...
A horror with threads of gross out comedy, Cabin Fever 3: Patient Zero knows very well it’s cheap but loves itself anyway. After Josh (Brandon Eaton) has a...

Edge of Tomorrow Photo Gallery

More Edge of Tomorrow News

Comments