Edge of Tomorrow is an ambitious feature: it is clever, succinct modern cinema. Confident execution, spectacular editing, lithe, smart dialogue held strong by the vibrant, monotonous beats of an ominous score - this Tom Cruise film promises and delivers. It risks a formulaic composition - that futuristic toned "defeat the enemy", apocalyptic mentality but is vindicated by a suave structure of the not-so-standard Groundhog Day-esque feature. It reminds us of the action, sci-fi thriller that is infectiously likeable but this time actually gives us legitimate reason to; a rare gem in film today. We may have the technology to create stunning visuals of a dystopian world, but believability and innovation is still up to the work of diligent craftsmanship. The laugh-out-loud humour, stellar performances and sublime, edgy editing surely provides a refreshing step away from the mindless action sequences of the standard Michael Bay production.
Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) carries title in an apocalyptic future where an alien race wrecks havoc and devastation. Warfare is commonplace and hope comes in the form of technological development - advanced weaponry. When William Cage objects to being placed in direct combat on the French coast against the known "mimics", he is stripped of his title and thrown into the mission. Cage is dropped in with the first wave where it appears the enemy anticipated the attack, the beach: a slaughterhouse. Upon slaughtering a large Alpha mimic using a mine, he becomes covered in its blood before the mine explodes. He awakens the morning before the attack, trapped in a time loop of death on repeat.
The feature of Edge of Tomorrow which sets it apart from the predictable, vacuous features of the average action sci-fi film is the distinct way in which it is edited. The film had the potential to evoke tedium and repetition but competent cutting and adroit sequencing keeps the audience on the edge their seats. The creators of this film are not naïve: they understand that it takes more than battle scenes, explosions and gunfire to entertain. Invigorating visuals may dazzle for moments but a modern audience seeks much more than that today.
Director Doug Liman is only too familiar with action features, having created the genre landmarks Bourne Identity, Fair Game and Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Edge of Tomorrow, however, is easily his most accomplished, well-rounded feature. Although, I will say this: the ending of the film was slightly uninspired and rather lacklustre. It was a little too neat, predictable and somewhat lethargic.
The casting decision of placing Emily Blunt opposite Tom Cruise was indeed a strategic one. Blunt is an actress whom seldom falters. Her unwavering glares (comedic value alone) and clean and sharp delivery of dialogue worked wonders against Cruises's very standard yet nonetheless proficient performance. The collaborative prowess of the interaction between the two proves not only comical but efficient in forwarding the plot; the pair are entirely watchable.
Suspense is a graceful instrument at the hands of Doug Liman, a filmmaker who understands his demographic well and can still appeal to those outside of this audience.