Edge of Tomorrow
Review by Stu Horsfield Director: Doug Liman Starring: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton
When you are going to watch an action movie starring Tom Cruise it’s a good idea to hold your nose because chances are you’re about to enter a world of shit. This is not a place for small children, nor is it a place for adults, this is a place for people who will pay to have a dwarf with a smug smile take them on a dizzying miasmic adventure down into deep wells of successively thicker and thicker shit.
Though after seeing him try his hand at a semi-decent Sci-Fi plot in Oblivion last year and not totally fuck it up I was somewhat hopeful about this movie, which looked like the same sort of thing. And I’ve got to say, it defied most of my expectations.
If you haven’t seen the trailer, here’s the basic premise: Aliens have invaded Earth, and Tom Cruise is a soldier who doesn’t seem to know how to die properly. He keeps living the same day over and over again, and this is supposed to help him do things. I’ll admit, the prospect of seeing Tom Cruise get shot, run over, blown up, etc. for a couple of hours was pretty appealing, if nothing else I was hoping for this kind of spectacle of retributive justice. The rest of the cast looked alright, Brendan Gleeson is fucking great all the time, and Emily Blunt seems to be good in whatever she does, so I wasn’t worried about her. And they all did a pretty good job.
The story - especially the first two thirds - didn’t feel like a typical action movie, but more like a Japanese anime; in Cruise’s pathetic reluctance to enter combat, his clear horror and bewilderment in facing some supernatural force when actually entering combat; even the aesthetic of the battle scene and the aliens themselves all made the opening scenes seem like a western stylistic appropriation of Neon Genesis or Akira. (after writing this I found out that the movie is actually adapted from a Japanese novel/Manga, so this makes more sense now.) In taking this ‘groundhog day’ approach, it opens itself up to all kinds of plot holes, but it seems to have anticipated this and played out enough possible arcs to keep people satisfied. I can imagine people watching this saying “why wouldn’t he just do ___?”, only to have him immediately try that exact thing and have it spectacularly fail. The last third of the movie is kind of disappointing though, the fantastic irregular plot movement is all but totally abandoned in favour of the typical action-driven “we must kill the thing!” Hollywood ending, and the final scene was so saccharine and lazy I almost threw up. It was all going so well!
Edge of Tomorrow is far better than it looks, but just be ready to leave when that thing happens (you’ll see it) where they totally negate the premise of the film and everything turns back to shit.
Oh and seriously, Noah Taylor, you’re usually so good in things. What the fuck, that sucked, try again.
3/5 satisfying death scenes