Edge of Tomorrow - Review
Review by Rob Carnevale
TOM Cruise’s latest foray into sci-fi stands on the edge of greatness for long periods but then blows it during a cowardly Hollywood coda.
That’s not to deny Edge of Tomorrow the bulk of the praise it deserves. For Doug Liman’s film, a kind of Groundhog Day meets Independence Day with Saving Private Ryan‘s opening sequence thrown in, is a mostly thrilling cinematic spectacle.
It’s also pretty smart, occasionally funny and often very exciting, working hard to overcome some of the more obvious shortcomings of time travel plot devices (such as repetitiveness and lack of tension).
Taking place in a world already under siege by aliens, the film follows Major William Cage (Cruise) as he is literally dropped into the heart of the battle on the French beaches without so much as a day’s combat training only to be killed virtually within the first five minutes.
The manner of his death, however, triggers a time loop that enables him to go back and relive the previous 24 hours until he can get it right and find a way to defeat the enemy – something he does with the help of Special Forces warrior Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), the only person who believes his story and is equipped enough to carry the fight.
Liman’s film sets up a credible time travel scenario and has fun re-setting itself to keep the audience on their toes, whether that’s comically finding new ways to kill Cruise or drop in surprises and problem solving clues based on past unseen failures.
In doing so, the director – whose best work includes Go, The Bourne Identity and Mr & Mrs Smith – also delivers the required eye candy courtesy of some spectacular carnage.
There are still times when the movie does briefly lose its momentum amid some unnecessary repeats, while there’s no getting away from the fact that the set-up feels and even plays out like a computer game given the different levels and innumerable lives of it’s key players.
But for the most part Liman keeps things lively and inventive enough to ensure you’ll be having too much fun to notice.
It’s only as the film approaches its final strait that the cracks become more noticeable and when audiences may find their intelligence undermined by the mainstream need for feel-good endings and major leaps of faith. And this despite the long-established precedent of intelligent sci-fi being willing to subvert expectation right up until the final reel to establish classic status.
Hence, as consistently enjoyable as Edge of Tomorrow is for long periods, it can’t quite sustain the early high standards it sets itself. But that shouldn’t deter you from seeing it.
Running time: 112mins
UK Release Date: May 30, 2014