Smug Cruise, stupid Cruise, needy Cruise, awesome Cruise.
Cage (Tom Cruise) is a military media liaison covering an alien invasion of Earth and helping to recruit soldiers to the cause…mostly to avoid being shipped off to battle himself. On the eve of a desperate push against enemy forces in central Europe, Cage is told he’s going to be covering the battle – not where he wants to be – and attempts to influence a British General to get out of it. Faster than can you say “Yes, Drill Sargent,” Cage awakens stripped of privilege, inducted into a front-line squad, and quickly on a beachhead alongside allied forces getting slaughtered. An instant before she’s killed, he spies a hero of the war named Rita (Emily Blunt) before dying himself in a shower of alien blood… before waking up again stripped of privilege and inducted into a front-line squad. Did he dream the future, or is something else going on?
It would be easy to call this Groundhog Day meets Independence Day, and that’s a very apt description. What sets this story apart is the attention to detail and the actors themselves. In a film where the same characters die many times over while learning new things each time it happens, this would be an editor’s nightmare – or the coolest thing ever. It must have been amazing to see this film come together with so much information and plot poured in. There are rules, of course; like many of the best time travel films, hard limits like causality and time of travel help keep these stories tight. Edge of Tomorrow is exactly the kick-ass, intellectual, science-fiction story everyone says they wish was made more often… and yet it was panned.
Is the mere existence of Tom Cruise in a non Mission: Impossible that’s film considered box office poison now, or was it an easy excuse not to take a chance on something that wasn’t a franchise film based on a best-selling novel or a sequel to The Whatever Games? Cruise is in his early fifties, and being an action star still isn’t easy, especially the work he puts in; you think you can look like that by accident? Emily Blunt has become the go-to lady for physically and mentally fit – yet too often is a supporting actress rather than a lead; can we get this woman a lead role please? Even the bit parts in this film were amazing, The production design is top-notch as well; it isn’t easy creating a new alien species, other-worldly technology, and re-thought military hardware whenever a new story like this is written.
It’s hard to find any fault in a film this tightly edited. The genius is everything that isn’t said, an instant shorthand that Cage and Rita quickly create; for us, the movie is two hours long, but in story time, months of reboots have gone by and these characters work together like a single unit. If there is any misstep in plotting that seems obvious, it is near the end when the day is near to be won but at the cost of everything – but it IS a Tom Cruise movie, after all.
(a four skull recommendation out of four)