Honestly, I’m not sure what I expected going into Edge of Tomorrow. I like a big blockbustery action movie but I can find sci-fi a bit off-putting sometimes (sorry!). Plus, yet again, I wasn’t entirely sure what it was about (are trailers just designed to overwhelm us now? To bewilder us into seeing these movies?) Emily Blunt and Tom Cruise gave a long, slightly spoilery plot summary on Graham Norton, leading me to expect Groundhog Day meets War of the Worlds. Which is pretty much what I got. It was also smart, funny, action-packed and well paced, with a great female role for Blunt.
In Edge of Tomorrow, the future Earth has been invaded by rampaging, scary aliens called Mimics. They have been progressing across central Europe and (in a neat WWII parallel) have finally reached France. An international army is gathering in the UK, preparing to launch across the sea to the beaches of France to try and defeat the Mimics and keep them from crossing the sea. Tom Cruise plays Major William Cage, a US Army PR officer, whose main job is to get soldiers to volunteer. When an unfortunate encounter ends with him headed to the beaches to fight the enemy, he is totally out of his depth and quickly comes a-cropper. However, something odd happens and he wakes up to relive the day again. And again. And again. Cage eventually approaches super soldier Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt) after she reveals she may know what’s happening to him…
Edge of Tomorrow was a pleasant surprise. It was a smart, interesting action movie, with genuinely terrifying adversaries (who first figured out that things with tentacles are scary as hell?) and brisk, full on action sequences. The film injects a lot of humour into the ‘repeating day’ gimmick, showcasing Cage’s increasing skills as a soldier (practice makes perfect, after all), his impatience with the repetitiveness of his plight and the way he rather enjoys freaking everyone else out with his apparent psychic knowledge of events. A lot of fun is had out of his training with Vrataski, particularly from her unusual method of ‘restarting’ him.
Cruise brings all his trademark likeability to this role and rather subverts it; at the start of the film Cage is a coward, a slimeball and totally useless on the battlefield. It’s fun to see Cruise play inept and confused as opposed to Mr Super-Action (although that does come later). As Rita Vrataski, Emily Blunt was awesome and clearly having a ball. It was so refreshing to see a female role in a movie like this where the woman was the better soldier. The leader, the trainer, the proper badass. Blunt was relentlessly tough, merciless and unsentimental in the movie, which I absolutely loved. Cage was the soft, sentimental one, where Vrataski was a true soldier to the end, always thinking strategically and in terms of what would be a better win.
There were great cameos from Bill Paxton and Brendan Gleeson, as well as the expected rag-tag band of misfits as Cage’s company. All the news footage shown while the plot is set up at the beginning is British and I found the idea of everyone in the UK sat at home, having their tea and watching BBC News 24 while an alien invasion was occurring both hilarious and reassuringly likely (I feel like we would also be switching over to Gogglebox, to check how other people were reacting). The script was co-written by esteemed Brit playwright Jez Butterworth (Jerusalem) and his brother, who I suspect may have added some of the slyer, more humorous elements of the story.
I really enjoyed Edge of Tomorrow and I’m keen to read the graphic novel it’s based on, All You Need Is Kill, as it sounds even more amazing than the movie. Go see, folks!