Movie Review: Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

Based on a novel by Hiroshi Sakurazaka (All You Need Is Kill)

Writers: Christopher McQuarrie (screenplay), Jez Butterworth (screenplay), John Henry Butter Worth

Director: Doug Liman

Stars: Tom CruiseEmily Blunt

 

Easily, one my favorite movies of 2014. A fast paced, captivating, and involving sci-fi thriller.

The Story (SPOILERS!)

The aliens known as Mimics have conquered most of the Europe and are moving on the entire world.

Meet William Cage (Tom Cruise), an army PR officer, who is thrown in the line of duty with total disregard to his desire (or skills, for that matter).

In the battlefield (almost D-Day), Cage engages himself with an alien known as Alpha. And although he manages to kill it, he gets its juice (blood, gore, whatever) all over him.

He pretty much dies.

Only to wake up a day back in time.

Turns out, the freaking aliens have a way to reverse time each time one of their Alpha dies. That was their edge over the humans.

Good news? Now Cage has this power too.

He teams up with Rita Vatraski (Emily Blunt), a war hero and poster-child of the war, who had had those powers in the past but lost it after a blood transfer. She trains and guides Cage, as he dies over and over again, learning new things about himself and the aliens along the way and getting stronger.

Finally, together they seek out the den of the Mother Alien (an octopus thingy, only larger and way grosser) and kill it for good.

Afterthoughts

Edge of Tomorrow is an enthralling story of a man caught in time. It entertained me throughout. The concept of ‘Live. Die. Repeat.’ is not new in itself (remember Groundhog Day?). Nor is the concept of an unlikely hero put in a ridiculous steel suit and send out to fight the aliens (Pacific Rim, anyone?)

But a nice blend of these two concepts, a master storytelling, and some badass special effects provide “Edge of Tomorrow” that special edge over other sci-fi movies of the past year.

Major Characters

William Cage and Rita Vatraski are, undisputedly, two compelling characters with well-crafted character arcs.

Tom Cruise depicts William Cage and the role of i-don’t-want-to-do-this-shit hero brilliantly. He makes us live his frustration and cheer his actions. Action is something he’s always been good with and in EoT,  too, he holds back nothing (even at fifty!).

Over the course of the movie, he turns from a scared, poor warrior thrown into a lost war to a hero that the world needs, who, ultimately, saves the day. We sigh when he fails and we rejoice when he shows an act of bravery.

Emily Blunt is simply awesome as Rita Vatraski. She is one of the most captivating female characters you’re ever going to see in a sci-fi movie (and most badass). We are introduced to a snub side of her. You know that particular trait we find in characters who have seen too much war? Yeah, she’s pretty much called the “Full Metal Bitch”. But as the movie progresses, we get to see the “human” side of her. We can really feel her anguish over not being able to succeed when she had the power. And her reinvigorated hope when she finds Cage with that same power.

Most intriguing thing of all is the relationship between these two. Now Cage has known Vatraski for, literally, many a lifetime. But from her point of view, she has only known him for a few hours. That makes things difficult for Cage. He even starts to develop a feeling for her (as well he should after dying so many time alongside her!) but she has nothing for him. Poor William Cage.

The Tension

Despite knowing that our protagonist can’t possibly die (although that situation changes by the end), the movie doesn’t fail to keep the tension rising.

The conflicts are too graving!

Cage’s internal conflict about being a warrior he isn’t is nice — a typical trope but well executed. Vatraski’s internal conflict regarding her failure to use the power to a good use and her vow to succeed with Cage is interesting too. And then there is that superbad alien race threatening to conquer the world.

Important thing. The movie is about a day being lived over and over, but the audience, however, get to see a different side of things every time. A different exposition, a different character building, a different piece of information — the story moves quite differently each time. In other words, only Cage lives the same moments over and over, not the audience.

The scene do not feel redundant, so hat’s off to the editing team for that.

All in all

“Edge of Tomorrow” is a classic sci-fi thriller. A master story with a captivating plot, well-crafted characters, and well developed tension.

 

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