An officer finds himself caught in a time loop in a war with an alien race. His skills increase as he faces the same brutal combat scenarios, and his union with a Special Forces warrior gets him closer and closer to defeating the enemy.
Doug Liman’s latest film Edge of Tomorrow brings Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt together in this sci/fi war tale, Liman’s last film Fair Game was released back in 2010, while his more notable films being Mr. & Mrs. Smith and the Bourne Identity were around or over a decade ago. Liman’s filmography isn’t the biggest but he tends to bring something interesting together and Edge of Tomorrow is no different.
With a screenplay from Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth and John-Henry Butterworth, Edge of Tomorrow delivers an interesting but not overly original scenario set against a large scale futuristic war film. With grand events unfolding in the background, the film focusses on the story of a few characters destined to be instrumental in shaping the war around them. So while the concept of a recurring time loop used in this film isn’t unique, the way in which Liman employs it is interesting and keeps viewers engaged.
Without wasting any time, the film get to its key scenarios quickly, following some brief exposition in the opening few minutes events escalate allowing for the majority of the film’s 113 minute to follow its two primary leads. Unfortunately anyone beyond these two characters is mostly one note, with one in particular serving little other purpose than to explain to the audience certain issues of importance that will impact what they’re about to watch onscreen. The human race’s enemy in this film is also left somewhat shallow, generally left as a blur of tentacles, and energy glow we never really gain much of an insight into them other than that fact they just want to take over the planet.
Given its premise Edge of Tomorrow reuses the same scenes and interactions over and over again for large sections of the film however thanks to Liman’s eye for detail and some clever management of story this never becomes repetitive or boring, it can however at times feel a bit like a video game replaying the same level to finish a difficult sequence of events. There’s also some dark comedic sensibility injected in there that plays well.
Visually there’s a lot to dazzle and entertain on display particularly early on in the film, the large scale battle scenes are well constructed and look great with plenty happening on screen. Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt work pretty well together, Cruise maintains a mostly familiar presence on screen though he does take the opportunity to alter his usual demeanour with a mix of cowardice as a man willing to do anything to evade being sent into a combat environment. Emily Blunt is solid in her role, ultimately however the film is more an exploration of events and a concept than delving deeply into character arcs.
Edge of Tomorrow is entertaining and a great looking film, while being a bit shallow with most of its characters it makes the most of its concept and keeps things interesting however the final act doesn’t quite escalate with as good a pay off as the rest of the film deserved.
I’m giving it 7 out of 10 stars, Edge of Tomorrow is in cinemas around Australia from 5th June 2014.