johnlink ranks EDGE OF TOMORROW (2014)

I’m annoyed that they tried to change the title of this movie for the DVD release. If you can’t decide on a title before a movie hits theaters, you shouldn’t get to change the title after that. EDGE OF TOMORROW may be too grand and abstract an idea for a Hollywood sic-fi movie, but that doesn’t mean you get to push the reset button and start calling it LIVE. DIE. REPEAT. just because you want to. All that said, I’m really glad I finally saw this movie.

edge-of-tomorrow-tom-cruise

I watched EDGE OF TOMORROW (2014) on 12.9.14. It was my first viewing of the film.

Cage (Tom Cruise) is a publicity guy who is doing pretty well for himself as an Army major selling the near-future war the world is engaged in with a bunch of aliens. These ‘mimics’ as they are called have taken over most of Europe. The Army, specifically General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson) wants Cage to go to the front lines to sell the war. He tries to get out of it because he has a real aversion to fighting. But, as we suspect will happen, he ends up there. He meets the world’s best alien fighter, Rita (Emily Blunt) before he ends up getting some alien blood all over him which allows him to restart the day over any time he dies. The thrust of the movie, then, is Cage and Rita figuring out how to get through the battlefield in order to win the war.

As has been stated by many, EDGE OF TOMORROW is a live-action movie video game. After some exposition, we end up starting the game over and over again, with Cruise’s Cage serving as our Player One. We get a little further, die, start over, move further, die again, rinse and repeat. In the hands of lesser creative minds, this would be a terrible and generic movie, a gimmick movie.

But this is a really good sci-fi action flick.

Writers Christopher McQuarrie (who wrote one of the best screenplays of the last 25 years with THE USUAL SUSPECTS) teams up with Jez and John-Henry Butterworth to give us a script which doesn’t always take the easy way out. Sometimes we as an audience have more information than the characters. Sometimes the characters are one step ahead of us. And sometimes we don’t know which is which. This manipulation of time is not just used as a trick, but also lets us into the minds of Cage and Rita. Blunt has the tough job of each day being that first day while Cruise’s Cage is continually increasing his wealth of knowledge (leveling up, if you will). It is a fascinating dance, and one that stays on course very well.

The ending has a hard time keeping up with the gritty toughness of the rest of the film, but it earns our respect anyway. The skill with which Director Doug Liman nimbly moving us along through the time line and showing us the most interesting parts of each day. We get the requisite montage of death, we get set ups that pay off in satisfying ways, and we get a third act which ramps up the danger and makes us question what will happen. So if the ending itself is a little bit too simple, we can deal with that.

EDGE OF TOMORROW is one of the most interesting sci-fi movies of the last few years. PROMETHEUS came with a lot of hype, but turned out to be relatively bland. I haven’t seen INTERSTELLAR (and don’t want to know ANYTHING about it) but have heard some grumblings of it not being as smart as it thinks it is. But EDGE OF TOMORROW takes the modern, if unsophisticated, topic of video game heroes and gives us a really interesting look at what that would look like in a ‘real’ world. I want to watch it again to try and figure out just how many days Cage goes through. I want to watch it again for the wonderful chemistry between Cruise and Blunt. But, mostly, I want to watch it again because it is one of the more entertaining films I’ve seen in a long while.

SCORES

FILM: 6; MOVIE: 10; ACTING: 7; WRITING: 8

6+10+7+8+0=31

FINAL SCORE: 7.75 out of 10

 

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~ by johnlink00 on December 10, 2014.

4 Responses to “johnlink ranks EDGE OF TOMORROW (2014)”

  1. Good review John. It’s a gimmick movie, but it’s one that does its gimmick total justice. And most of all, gives us a Tom Cruise performance we can all be happy to praise him for.

  2. I really need to see this one. Good review makes me want to see it just a bit more now.

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