BY SARAH MILES
The summer movie season is truly upon us and as agreeable as the usual superheroes and sequels may be, audiences want a little variety in their options. Something that’s new, fun and not part of a franchise. Here we have a film that has all the right ingredients for a great time and could be a surprise hit of the season, and who could have guessed that we’d be getting it from Tom Cruise and the director of Jumper?
Alien forces landed in Europe several years ago and humanity is on the brink of what could be the deciding battle. Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) is military in name only, a spin-doctor who used to sell the public on the latest weapons rather than an actual combatant. When he is against his will thrown into battle the results are what you expect: down in a few minutes after failing to turn his gun on. However, as soon as he dies he wakes up again, back at the previous morning. Re-living the same days again and again with the knowledge of what he’s already lived through, he encounters battle-hardened warrior Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt) who tells him “come find me when you wake up.”
The central drive of the film is its Groundhog Day device of having the main character re-live the same events. In terms of the story, it’s something that could get old very fast if you don’t keep it fresh. Luckily Cage’s repeat days are used effectively, occasionally to humorous effect as he is suddenly killed by a random object or when Vrataski has no qualms about shooting him in the head every time he gets injured. They also never repeat any scenes unnecessarily; the film skips along to the next important event and expects the audience to keep track of the current chain of events. Each timeline sequence building to the explosive Paris set finale.
Whilst I’ve never been his biggest fan, Tom Cruise is decent as the cowardly Major struggling to understand what’s happening. However, the MVP of the film for me is without a doubt Emily Blunt as Vrataski. She is no-nonsense and a strong fighter, but isn’t painted as an unfeminine grunt. The rest of the soldiers are the usual likeable gang of misfits straight out of Aliens (complete with Bill Paxton) and are from a variety of nationalities, no “America is the one saving the day” here which is refreshing. This actually encapsulates the strength of the film; it has a lot of components which are familiar, but are played in a way that doesn’t feel stale, is engaging, and offers some brilliant action. I must say that I wasn’t fond of the ending and felt it could have been more original, but this is minor compared to how much I enjoyed the rest of the film.
Edge of Tomorrow is pure blockbuster fun. It won’t change your worldview, but you’ll have a good time.