Tom Cruise is usually right on when picking his starring roles. Recently, it seems that he has wanted to venture further into the science fiction genre. I’m all for that. Cruise has to be one of the last remaining ‘true’ mainstream action stars left. Almost everyone else is using stunt doubles, and it shows. Science Fiction being my favorite genre, Cruise is a welcome addition to the Edge of Tomorrow cast.
This film’s story really shouldn’t work. Without spoiling anything that you don’t already know, it’s about an untrained soldier dying over and over again during a critical battle in the war against an alien race, who gets better each time he is massacred. What could one do to make a full length, engaging film with such a limited spectrum? It took the talent of writer Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects) to adapt this concept from the Japanese novel, All You Need Is Kill, written by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, to make into the amazing film it is.
Edge of Tomorrow was surprisingly funny! Unlike a lot of serious toned films that implement humor, the jokes here fit perfectly in between the action and darkness of the movie. I have a feeling that if this film had taken itself completely seriously, it wouldn’t have been as enjoyable as it was. McQuarrie knew when to keep things serious and when to throw some humor on the viewer.
But behind the camera, all the credit shouldn’t just be going to Christopher McQuarrie. The film’s director, Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity), did an amazing job at squeezing every drop of goodness out of the story. His direction of the action scenes was remarkable. Some of them are still stuck in my head, and that happens very rarely. Props should also be given to cinematographer Dion Beebe (Memoirs of a Geisha). Without a good cinematographer, the action in a film can really be squandered. Beebe knew exactly where the camera had to be to capture all the action in its fullest.
Tom Cruise plays the inexperienced soldier Major William Cage, and let me tell you, his performance here ranks amongst his best. The progression of his character throughout the film from cannon folder to one of the best soldiers this fictional military has was great to witness. His comedic timing was perfect, which helped the humor reach its full potential. Emily Blunt’s character, the Special Forces badass Sergeant Rita Vrataski, nicknamed ‘Full Metal Bitch’, was a great female role model. She was independent, didn’t need to be saved by any ‘superior’ male character, and was given the same amount of respect Cage did, if not more.
The actual designs of the aliens, named Mimics in the film, were very original. They didn’t look like the typical, run of the mill outer space baddies that we see so often now. They were unique and moved in such a way that it was obvious that they weren’t from this world. The ExoSuits featured in the film were very realistically designed and each character had their own uniquely designed suit. These suits allowed the characters to do some pretty spectacular things.
Edge of Tomorrow is one of the best original films to come out in the vast sea of remakes and sequels in recent years. It’s engaging, funny, heartfelt and overall a great time. This film could have easily have been bad, but it luckily had the right cast & crew to make it work. I’m just hoping now that word of mouth has spread enough for this film to be financially successful.
Director: Doug Liman
Screenplay: Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth
Cast: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Brendan Glesson, Bill Paxton, Noah Taylor