Running Time: 1 hour 53 minutes
On the eve of mankind’s desperate final assault against an invading alien horde known as Mimics, Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) goes from the safety of his job working for the military’s PR wing to the front lines after refusing an order from his commanding officer (Brendan Gleeson). Woefully unprepared for combat, Cage ends up wounded and fading fast when he decides to activate a claymore mine in an attempt to take a few of the Mimics with him. As he dies in battle, he jolts awake to find himself starting the previous day over. Each time he dies in battle, but each time he awakes at the start of the previous day. When he tries to explain this phenomena to his Sergeant (Bill Paxton) he is treated as though he is crazy. A chance encounter with war hero Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt) on the battlefield provides him with some insight into what is happening to him. He returns to her every day for training, and with his knowledge of the days events, they are able to plan a daring attack that may save us all.
While none of the elements of Edge of Tomorrow are particularly unique, they are utilized in a very effective and entertaining way. Cruise, made a name for himself playing ultra-confident characters, gets to play against type covering himself in flop-sweat and jittery panic as he goes into combat. Emily Blunt is also allowed to show a new facet of herself, exuding strength and competence without allowing herself to have too hard an edge. She remains just vulnerable enough to seem like a real person and that allows us to feel Cruise’s mounting frustration each time he can’t save her. Paxton is also very enjoyable as the drill sergeant with the cadence of a Baptist preacher.
While the action was generally good, I have never been a huge fan of director Doug Liman’s shaky, hand-held camera style. There is also very little development of secondary characters other than giving them each one single quirk as an identifier. Lastly, I didn’t feel like there was very much attention paid to the design of the Mimics. A few blurry shots of metallic tentacles and toothy roars do not a memorable enemy make. Edge of Tomorrow is at its best when the action is punctuated with gallows humor and Cruise’s charm. B