Film, In Review: Edge of Tomorrow

A twist of fate chances you to live, die, and repeat the same day over and over again. Your past remains unchanged apart from the choices you’ve made in your present state, and for the sake of drama, there are a few ground rules…First, do not make repeat mistakes – it’s a waste of time and extremely tedious. Second, try to survive battle without dying – it’s difficult, but not impossible. Third, save the world. Sure, this may not have been the life Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) wanted in “Edge of Tomorrow”, but for now, he has no other choice but to accept it.

Tom Cruise (Maj. William Cage) in "Edge of Tomorrow"

Tom Cruise (Maj. William Cage) in “Edge of Tomorrow”

Some years into the future we happen upon a war that has completely submerged France, Italy, and Germany into a desolate wasteland. Our principle character, Cage, is drafted and flown to London, England, to liaison with General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson) and strategize about possible counter attacks on the alien robots, also known as Mimics, that have inhabited half of Western Europe. An ironic bout of miscommunication, however, lands Cage detained on the bloody banks of Normandy beach serving on the front lines of a war he’s never been trained for. Moving briskly, he stumbles through cataclysmic explosions, rapid bullets, and ferocious spider bots that implode at the sight of human beings. His first successful kill results in an explosion of blood splatter, an absorption of DNA from his alien enemy into his own. Immediately upon death, Cage returns to the precise moment from which he first woke: a brash welcome from Master Sergeant Farell (Bill Paxton). After his third deployment onto the same beach, Cage soon learns the truth about this horrid game: he isn’t the only player.

Noah Taylor (Dr. Carter), Tom Cruise (Maj. William Cage), and Emily Blunt (Rita Vrataski) in "Edge of Tomorrow"

Noah Taylor (Dr. Carter), Tom Cruise (Maj. William Cage), and Emily Blunt (Rita Vrataski) in “Edge of Tomorrow”

Meet Sergeant Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), the first and only soldier ever to kill one hundred Mimics on her own. Her skills are remarkable, her talents speak for themselves, yet beneath her stoic exoskeleton, there lies more than her fellow soldiers can comprehend. A forewarning from Rita leads Cage to discover that her reputation was attained due to her own blood transfusion with a matured Mimic. Unfortunately, Rita lost her ability to regenerate due to an injury that required several pints of human blood, thus, eliminating the Mimic blood and her ability to turn back time. Essentially, we realize that in order for Cage to save the world, he must die, to keep reliving.

Emily Blunt (Rita Vrataski) and Tom Cruise (Maj. William Cage) in "Edge of Tomorrow"

Emily Blunt (Rita Vrataski) and Tom Cruise (Maj. William Cage) in “Edge of Tomorrow”

A brilliant plot in lieu of even greater performances, “Edge of Tomorrow” draws its essence from light novel “All You Need Is Kill” by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. Apart from a few minor alterations, the film is ideally a replication of the Japanese novel. Undoubtedly, Director Doug Liman has created a feast of entertainment with his latest venture with actors Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt waltzing effortlessly through their many tumultuous action sequences. Cage’s charm and effervescent attitude alongside Rita’s cold, and often times defensive exterior, is enough to applaud writers Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth, and John Henry Butterworth on such likeable characters.

Their relationship solidifies with each repeat day; their passion for each other, for their world, is beyond ethereal.

Tom Cruise (Maj. William Cage) and Emily Blunt (Rita Vrastaski) in "Edge of Tomorrow"

Tom Cruise (Maj. William Cage) and Emily Blunt (Rita Vrastaski) in “Edge of Tomorrow”

Inadvertently, what lies at the nectar of this film is a tale about the fragility of second chances. Perhaps what’s most interesting is that Cage, we learn with every new repeat, is able to correct the mistakes that he’s made in the past without anyone having any memory of the repercussions. This, however, is also to the film’s disadvantage. Minor characters, once acrimonious towards Cage, now begin to lose their charm, precisely because he is always one step ahead of them. At first, his witty remarks against their confounded bemusement are entertaining, but too much of a fun thing becomes vapid after the tenth or eleventh sequence. Liman of course counters this attribute with various drops of humour but the continuous time reversal is enough to overwhelm the viewer, even the time travel fanatic.

Granted, the film’s success manifests in compelling its audiences to fully embrace their most consequential relationships devoid of past mistakes, present meanderings, or future reflections. In the end, we are all living towards the edge of a tomorrow, aren’t we?

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