Edge of Tomorrow

Director: Doug Liman

Starring: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson, Lara Pulver, Charlotte Riley, Madeleine Mantock

Rated: PG-13 (intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language and brief suggestive material)

A soldier fighting aliens gets to relive the same day over and over again, the day restarting every time he dies.

 

Edge of Tomorrow

By Matt Greene

EoT is a heady film, but not a heavy film. Instead of self-importance (like Cruise’s2013 scifi Oblivion), it takes a smart premise and pokes at it. It presents tropes and then plays around them instead of letting them take over. It cheats with some of the science, but keeps the story loose and entertaining. It even touches on big themes of fate and making the most of life, but overall it’s simply great fun.

Cruise plays a Lt. Col. during a future alien invasion, more focused on PR than actual fighting. When he’s unceremoniously dropped and killed in the midst of battle, he discovers his regeneration “gift”, repeatedly reliving the same day (think “Groundhog Day” but action-y). Each time he restarts, he learns a little more about himself and the enemy.

The action and effects are majestic and realistic, with a surprising respect for warfare, with aliens who are scary, unique, and cool, but what really makes EoT work is Cruise. He performs against the rock-solid action star type he has tended towards in recent years, instead playing a squirrelly, vulnerable, and comedic character with refreshing effortlessness. His opening fear is palpable, and his eventual transformation into a fierce warrior is steady and believable thanks to great direction and committed acting.

This is a modern premise with an 80s sensibility, never losing the fun while juggling the philosophy. The space-time continuum problems and moments of clichéd dialogue are overlooked by the below-the-surface tongue-in-cheek spirit that permeates the entire film. EoT is a twisty, rewarding, funny, and deftly made summer blockbuster.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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