Edge of Tomorrow

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It took Tom Cruise a long time, a damn long time to live down the disastrous year that was 2005.  There were couches to be jumped on, postpartum depression to be criticized in the name of Scientology and assholes like Matt Lauer to be called glib (which is only incorrect in that glibness implies that Matt Lauer is only insincere… insincerity is the least of that guy’s problems).  It was hard to remember that there was a time when this Tom Cruise guy was considered charming, that he was the kind of guy people wanted to see in a movie… that he was nominated for three Oscars.

Edge of Tomorrow is a reminder that, yes, Tom Cruise has legitimate talent, despite the fact that he might… you know, be a little crazy.  He’s talented, he’s a goddamn workhorse and he does insane stunts on his own.

edge of tomorrow

Edge of Tomorrow has been called a cross between numerous science-fiction action films and Groundhog Day, which is fair, I suppose.  I’d call it something like Starship Troopers meets Groundhog Day.  Tom Cruise, as Cage, is forced into a combative position in a war against aliens that have invaded Earth.  He’s not meant for this line of work, totally inept when it comes to warfare.  Not but 10 or 15 minutes into combat, he goes head-to-head with one of the extraterrestrial invaders and they mutually kill each other.  He wakes up, thanking God or whomever that it was just a dream… but then realizes that he’s traveling back to the previous day… again and again, trapped in a loop and unsure of how to escape it.

Each time the day repeats itself, he goes to the same battlefield.  What I liked best about this battlefield, as opposed to the landscapes I’ve seen in so many “fun” science-fiction fantasy movies is that the violence is this celebrated work of machismo bullshit, this masturbation of biceps, guns and the glory of seeing red mist fly through the air.  The battle that repeats again and again and again in Edge of Tomorrow is totally reminiscent of the beach-landing D-Day scene in Saving Private Ryan only, obviously, nowhere near as graphic due to its PG-13 rating.  It is similar, however, in how the sexuality and glee in movie violence is stripped away from it and all that’s left is this sort of horror unfolding in front of you.  The portrayal of warfare and violence was probably my favorite treatment in this movie.

Emily Blunt co-stars and she’s great in it.  I’ve always been a fan of hers; she just chooses smart material and isn’t afraid of being in stranger material like this and Looper.  She just seems nice.  She’s one of those beautiful, extremely talented actresses I feel like I’d only be slightly embarrassed accidentally farting in front of.

Part of Edge of Tomorrow’s charm is its good sense of humor.  Most action movies will have scenes of comic-relief, but this movie is ACTUALLY funny.  Like, laugh out loud funny sometimes.  Most of those laughs come from the numerous, and sometimes unexpected, ways Tom Cruise ends up dying.

If I have a complaint, it’s the way in which things wrap up too neatly at the end.  I would happy with either a sad ending or a happy ending, but just the way it was handled in those last fifteen minutes felt like it betrayed what had come before.  The violence and action felt more cartoony, it felt like the realism and the grit had been abandoned and then the good feelings of the end didn’t necessarily feel earned.  It was like the reverse of a Twilight Zone Twist.

Still, Edge of Tomorrow was a blast to watch and Tom Cruise was in the front of an exciting feature that was one of the better action movies to come out this year.  It’s definitely worth a watch and contains all the fun and thrills the people who watching something like Transformers 5 or 6 or whatever want, without feeling pandered to.

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