Edge of Tomorrow Gets It Right

Tom Cruise’s latest science fiction effort, Edge of Tomorrow, delivers an action/science fiction punch.

Poster for Edge of Tomorrow (2014). © Warner Bros.

Tom Cruise plays Major Bill Cage a PR representative for the United Defence Forces who irks the wrong General and is immediately demoted and sent into front line action against the invading alien Mimics. This is not a good thing if you are essentially a coward. During his first battle Cage manages to kill an Alpha Mimic while being killed himself and is now reliving the same day over and over. This is where the fun starts.

After some awkward moments in the beginning Cage starts to accept his fate and tries to do things differently and better each day. That is until he meets Sergeant Rita Vrataski, played by Emily Blunt. Now Cage and Rita (Full Metal Bitch) team up to take down the Mimic invasion once and for all.

Tom Cruise as Private Bill Cage in Edge of Tomorrow (2014). © Warner Bros.

I know many people, for what ever reason, dislike Tom Cruise as a person because of his personal beliefs or behaviour, but if you put that to one side he has delivered a romping good film. The Cage character was altered to fit Cruise’s age and nationality, but he does a terrific job as the ill equipped and unprepared Cage. You will watch with rapt attention as he dies repeatedly in new and interesting ways.

The film handles these repeated deaths in a way that keeps the film from treading over the same ground so often that you get bored. And while the deaths imply repeated gruesome fates, there is little of that on screen, but the suddenness of the screen change from one frame to the next portrays that shock very well. Say what you like but Mr. Cruise has done an excellent job in this film.

Edge of Tomorrow could have turned into a Cruise only extravaganza, but instead we are presented with a more complete film that highlights not only Cruise’s talents but the talents of the entire cast and crew. Most especially the talents of Emily Blunt.

Emily Blunt as Rita Vrataski in Edge of Tomorrow (2014). © Warner Bros.

After watching Ms. Blunt in this film my immediate thought was that she could step into the role of Ellen Ripley without missing a step. Emily Blunt is no stranger to science fiction films, and she plays Rita Vrataski with the utmost conviction and not once did I think she was simply there as eye candy or just for a pay cheque. I’ve seen many of her other films and I know she is a talented actress, but being able to play such diverse characters as a young Queen Victoria to Sergeant Vrataski just shows us how broad her talents really are.

Bill Paxton as Master Sergeant Farrell in Edge of Toworrow (2014). © Warner Bros.

The biggest treat in the entire film, though, has to be Bill Paxton as the tough as nails Master Sergeant Farell. The role is small, but it’s almost an homage to the Private Hudson character from Aliens (1986). That is if Hudson had made it off LV-426 and continued his career in the service. Paxton’s timing for his dialogue is perfect and delivered with the most impeccable straight face since Clint Eastwood in Heartbreak Ridge (1986). Just brilliant.

Edge of Tomorrow is based on the Japanese science fiction novel All You Need Is Kill (2004) by Hiroshi Sakurazaka (桜坂 洋). The novel was one of my favourite reads last year and while there are many alterations from the book the film captures the essential feel and spirit of the book. It is one of the very few adaptations I have seen that I would say do the book justice. That isn’t to say that there is nothing to be gained by reading the book, quite the opposite, I think reading the book would make the viewer’s understanding and enjoyment of the film all the greater.

While not a perfect film Edge of Tomorrow is the first science fiction film this year that lives up to its potential. Exciting with the right mix of humour and intelligence and cast that knows what it’s doing and how to get their characters right. If you haven’t seen Edge of Tomorrow yet I say plan to get to the cinema soon or you will miss a cracking good film.

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