Edge of Tomorrow

Earth is being overrun by an aggressive alien force that has traveled light years across the galaxy to find a habitable planet. In the process of Terra-forming Earth, they are wiping out humanity faster than we can learn how to fight them while turning the earth into a desert wasteland for habitation by an alien species known as Mimics.

A heavy-metal fusion of Battle L.A. (2011) meets Source Code (2011); Edge of Tomorrow is a repeating time loop story set in a futuristic earth at war with alien invaders. We follow William Cage (Tom Cruise), a public relations officer who has never been in combat, as he tries to make sense of the extraordinary events he is thrown into.

Based on the 2004 Japanese military science fiction novel All You Need is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, this story of an ordinary soldier’s unlikely relationship with a saber wielding, full metal female super warrior, while confronted with surreal circumstances, is very much in the vein of renowned Sci-fi author Philip Dick. 

To defend against this threat to all life on earth, the nations of the world have come together to form a United Defense Force (UDF) consisting of various armies from around the world. Cage is asked to cover the war on the front lines but refuses for fear of being killed. Ironically, not only is he killed but keeps getting killed again and again.

Tom Cruise has lately become fond of Sci-fi action films with a message and plenty of visual style. This is his fourth Sci-fi thriller since Minority Report (2001), War of the Worlds (2005) and Oblivion (2013). All are smart, innovative, thought provoking films that are packed with plenty of action and futuristic hardware, following one man’s personal journey to save himself and the earth from destruction.

By pure coincidence, Cage inadvertently taps into the alien’s powers of manipulating the future by resetting time to a point in the past. He must now find a way to use this alien time loop he’s trapped in, to help his squad of Jacket jockeys fighting with the aid of exo-skeleton suits called ‘Jackets’, that give them super human speed and strength on the battle field, to win the war against the Mimics and escape the time loop.

Not unlike Run Lola Run (1998), and Source Code (2011), excellent films that explored how small changes in our behavior can have big consequences in our fates, this film similarly explores the fate of a soldier who is caught in a single day that resets itself every time he dies. If you’ve ever played a difficult video game that keeps killing you before you can win or reach the ultimate prize, then you will have an idea of what this film is like.

In this case, Cage, living a video game nightmare, is the only one aware of the time loop and actually remembers everything he learns from previous days before dying, thereby avoiding the same mistakes and taking himself further into the future each time. Die enough times while learning enough tricks in a world that keeps resetting itself and you will eventually triumph over your enemies. 

Taking inspiration from the W.W. II Allied landings on the shores of Normandy, the film starts as a grungy and gritty ‘in-the-trenches’ war film from a grunt’s point of view as Cage is literally dropped onto the hellish front lines of battle. The experience is appropriately shocking, horrifying and exhilarating to watch.

As the mystery of what Cage is experiencing begins to unfold, with the help of a tough but attractive Special Forces soldier, Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), recently seen in such Sci-fi mind benders as The Adjustment Bureau (2011) and Looper (2012), who seems to have extreme abilities and experience beyond her years, the film evolves into a decoding of the alien strategy to find its weak point and the search to destroy it.

The action is relentless, even becoming absurdly and darkly humorous at times, but in the end, as in all video games, one eventually runs out of lives and then it’s time to see how far your training will take you in a game that wants to kill you at every turn.



jacquie said...

Good reviews! Not a sci-fi fan and surely not a Tom Cruise fan but these were well written and very descriptive.

Lenie Hokansson said...

Hi John - although this is not my kind of movie, I'm pretty sure that science fiction fans - and I know quite a few of them - would really appreciate this write-up.

Anonymous said...

This seems like a very interesting Sci-Fi version of Groundhog Day in a way. Really enjoyed reading your review. Thanks for sharing.

William Rusho said...

Great review. I am not a fan of Tom Cruise, but this is one movie I am interested in seeing.

Max Ivey said...

Hello; as a blind person who loves a good story but never knows if he wil be able to follow the story or not, i thank you for this review. i don't believe i want to watch it in the theatre but will wait for the dvd when i can watch it with audio descriptions for the blind. most theaters now days have at least one screen wired for this. you have to ask which one it is and also ask to use their headphones. maybe the next time you go to the movies you will check into it. thanks and take care, max

Susan Cooper said...

Great review as always John, As you know I am a huge sci-fi fan. I've been meaning to do see the movie. Now I need to get it in gear and go. :-)