Language : English | Running Time : 113 Minutes | Director : Doug Liman
There are times when a genre has been pumped up so much that one stops caring after a point. The world is about end has been a common gimmick supplied to us by Hollywood,especially. I’ve become so callous when it comes to this genre that I’ve stopped caring about who dies or who lives in these movies. In Edge Of Tomorrow, I faced the same problem. Why should we care? There’s nothing about the people here that makes you want to root for them, except for the leads – Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt. With these two people playing the lead, I started caring about what actually happens to a person in the film. I cared, only for these two. Doug Liman‘s “Edge Of Tomorrow” works firstly for me because I could care about what happened to its leads. It worked much more for me, because of the way it was constructed.
In Edge Of Tomorrow, Major Bill Cage(Tom Cruise) finds himself caught in a time loop when the world is at war with aliens. Of course, no one but the Full Metal Bitch, Rita Vrataski(Emily Blunt), interestingly the first name is same as Andie MacDowell‘s character in “Groundhog Day”, and Dr. Carter(Noah Taylor) who have both had individual experiences in practice and theory with the same phenomenon. The war has been going on for 5 years and we have Tom Cruise enter in the role of a media officer with the US Army. Instantly he reminds us of Jerry Maguire in the self-congratulatory, smooth talking manner he tries to handle General Brigham(Brendan Gleeson). Many a time his Bill Cage reminds us of memorable Tom Cruise performances of the past and still Bill Cage comes across as a remarkable character with an identity of its own.
There has been a point in time where we all wished that we had a save or create back-up option in life to come back and start from. Well, Tom Cruise gets that chance here. All he has to do is die and his day starts again, from a certain point. Like Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day”, he starts at the same point and the time loop is such that he knows what is going to happen after each restart. In many a way it is a reminder of what “Source Code” and Groundhog Day have already established in terms of time loops. Edge of Tomorrow succeeds in making sure that the time loops are not tedious. It does so by keeping both the thrill and humor intact with each restart. Every time, the restart produces a new item to laugh at or laugh with. Sly humor like the time Bill Cage arranges the bedsheet to cover the evidence of gambling, so that they can get the now “usual” introduction to the J squad out quickly speaks well of the writers Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth and John-Henry Butterworth, whose script is based on Hiroshi Sakaruzaka’s “All You Need Is Kill“. The intention is not to bring rip roaring laughter and take the tension of the war away. They just make these time loops exciting rather than tedious.
As expected, the restarts bring Bill and Rita closer to us. The movie has two characters to make something out of and it doesn’t disappoint. With every restart, you start understanding the psyche of these two and by the end, some of us are as guilty as the filmmakers for wishing the ending they gave us. There’s evolution of Tom Cruise from an advertising guy who is reluctant to get into the thick of the action to the perfect partner at war for the Full Metal Bitch or a term I find more likable, The Angel of Verdun. Toba Beta‘s words echo “Practice doesn’t make perfect. Practices reduces the imperfections.” The struggle at doing something uncomfortable comes through and these are little moments that make us like the characters.
If you were to ask people what they’d do if they could restart their life from a certain point, some would talk about salvaging some lost love. This romantic notion is built up during the time loops. The time loops serve a lot of analogies of this nature, mirroring how we think.
Tom Cruise has always been an actor who has brought enormous amount of coolness and an inexplicable easiness on screen. He is terrific as Bill Cage, the famous Tom Cruise smile is back. He is an actor who brings a vitality to screen that is very American, the kind we used to see in the movies until the start of the noughties. Unlike his recent films, “Jack Reacher” and “Oblivion”, he isn’t stifled. He moves like he used to, with grace, lithe and energy. The physicality associated with a Tom Cruise performance is very much back and it is great to see him in such fine form. Most of the time in his sci-fi films, he is the only actor who manages to keep us invested but here, he is ably supported by Brendan Gleeson,Neil Taylor and also outdone by the wonderful Emily Blunt. Her Rita is a strong and spirited woman in a male world and you see her bring the strength of her character. The intelligence of one of the best warriors in the army is evident in her and when there’s a need for vulnerability, she speaks the language quite well too.
What really strikes is that when you think about it, there’s very little inventiveness here. Even the villains, the aliens are very similar to what we have come to see in the last decade;shaped like octopuses, tentacles spreading,but as they appear more graceful and sprightly, the whole thing seems more exotic. Edge of Tomorrow is really a very interesting study of how little tweaks to the existing can make things all the more effective. Be it the villains or the way the time loops are treated, when you take the best of them and compare with Edge of Tomorrow, there are little tidying and knitting done to the issues that were at the center of the earlier films. Doug Liman doesn’t make radical changes, he has presented a story people have tried and messed up. He doesn’t really make any missteps, not until the climax. The film is beautifully shot and the stunts are extremely well choreographed as expected but in the climax, the whole battle and action become a haze and devoid of the excitement that was so central to the film till then. Someone might see to it one day and present it better, taking a leaf out of Doug Liman’s book. Maybe, one day we will not need the excessive use of guns or pyrotechnics to call a movie an action film. Maybe, someday the studio environment will give way to actually making an action movie that is consistent throughout. Doug Liman almost manages it by pacing his movie very well but the genre tropes catch on. Yet, there’s a lot of good here.
Edge of Tomorrow is a stellar sci-fi film, one that is very well acted and presented. It is a return of sorts for the box office draw that Tom Cruise is, in a genre he has made his own. It’s one of the most fun and ingeniously presented films, one I was totally hooked to. Edge Of Tomorrow is something I’d like to start, save and restart. It’s a ride I’ve quite enjoyed.