director Doug Liman
viewed: 07/06/2014 at AMC Metreon 16, SF, CA
Tom Cruise. For such a big mega-super-moviestar, it’s amazing how just the mention of his name will turn people away from a movie. People are really polarized on him. Me, I’ve generally disliked him all my life but have come around to the fact that he’s made a number of good science fiction thrillers in the past decade. As much as I wouldn’t go see a movie because he was in it, I’m no longer put off by a film because he is in it either.
And at this point in time, that’s not a common perspective on the man.
The real interest for me in Edge of Tomorrow was the Doug Liman factor. Liman doesn’t have an impeccable resume of films but he doesn’t make bad movies. He can make very good movies.
Edge of Tomorrow features the tagline: “Live. Die. Repeat.” to punctuate it’s time loop scenario. Like Source Code (2011), and probably a lot of other science fiction that employs this concept, a person is stuck within a small time frame, re-living it over and over into a death that they cannot escape, trying to solve a way to break the pattern and save the day.
When it’s used well, as in Source Code, it can make for a compelling story. And believe it or not, it’s very well employed here.
This is one of those cases where the trailer tells you most of what you need to know. There is an alien invasion, a storming of the beaches in France a la Normandy, that goes horribly wrong and for some reason, Tom Cruise is forced to live, die, and repeat.
The film actually doesn’t open within the loop, which is different. We meet Cruise, playing against type as a callow advertising exec turned military spin doctor who gets dropped into the assault against the monsters against his will. And its only when he is killed, splattered with the blood of the creatures, that he begins his “stuck in time” situation.
He finds in his cycle one poster girl soldier, hero of the one human victory against the invading aliens, the ever-likable Emily Blunt. It turns out that she has gone through something quite like what Cruise is experiencing, that the aliens have some ability to control time, to reset, and they got splattered with some of the magical ectoplasm.
You know, this is the best summer film I’ve seen all year. I’m not calling it a classic of the genre or anything but it’s a superior film. Really, really good.
Felix and I went to see it as part of a self-planned science fiction double feature with Snowpiercer (2013). And this was the clearly better movie. We both agreed.