Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

“You just came in with the fresh recruits.”

Friends, what reality are we in exactly? Is Edge of Tomorrowreally one of my top films of the year? Don’t worry, I still can’t believe it myself.

I have to admit, I almost didn’t see this film. I mean, it has one of the most stupidly run-of-the-mill ad campaigns I’ve seen in a while. You see, the trailers for this film reduced it to bland,Oblivion-looking “meh, I’ll see it on DVD”/”I am purely not interested”-ness that honestly omitted every strength of this beautiful, big wonder.

And a wonder it is. Riding on some pretty awesome reviews that managed to get me into the cinema (but still not with expectations), I was reminded for the second time this year why not knowing anything about a film can be amazing.

Edge of Tomorrow is anything but run-of-the-mill. Playing likeGroundhog Day, (insert action movie here) and Doug Liman’s sophomore feature Go were thrown in a blender, making a most unexpectedly great combination that goes down blissfully well.

Now, of course, the ‘intellectual blockbuster’, where filmmakers try to find more depth beyond mindless explosions and destroying things, is dime-a-dozen these days. Whether they actually succeed is another matter entirely. Too often proceedings delve into weird indecision between winks to source material and being serious (looking at you, Godzilla), or fake depth and completely unnecessary convolution that may impress in the moment but just leaves the audience feeling cheated and annoyed (hey there, Trance).

But with Edge of Tomorrow, Liman and his writers seem to have found the winning formula – stick to the roots. You see, regardless of how many 85 pound suits, plane crashes and spider-looking robot monsters are thrown at us, Edge of Tomorrow realises that it does not exist in some mystical film vacuum where audiences suddenly don’t care about plot or dialogue or actual human interactions, and that spectacle can never match skill. That, regardless of how incredible Emily Blunt looks killing said spider-bots, Edge is still a film, and if said film relies on only this, audiences will be dissatisfied the minute it’s over.

Everyone here is powering on all cylinders, and it’s not hard to get engrossed and pulled along with it when the film posses that same hyperactive energy found in Go, even when most of the plot is about repetition. Usually, seeing Tom Cruise’s day start again countless times would be mind-numbingly boring, but here, it couldn’t be more entertaining. Becoming ‘smarter’ each time he resets, able to start again easily to help himself in the future is played with so much excellent humour and variation in situation each time around, the story never gets stuck in a rut, but rather keeps things rolling along swimmingly. Of course, the secret to this is some excellent, charismatic performances, which Cruise (who seems to have found the fountain of youth) and Blunt (who could have excellent chemistry with a wet mop) definitely give.

Edge is a thoroughly satisfying, downright awesome film (I never thought I’d be saying that). Not relying on large set pieces to thrill (in fact, the moments where it is brought down to universal, humbling reality is where it is most heart pounding) and casting the rest aside, Liman’s film combines a wild hodgepodge of influences that would usually sound like a death combination to create a Pandora’s box of a film, never taking itself too seriously, with a sly wink always around the corner. One of the few blockbusters to attempt indie sensibilities to actually succeed,Edge of Tomorrow is a big-budget film that actually plays like an indie, an excellent little puzzle that sadly, has been marketed without focus on its strengths. Yes, Edge of Tomorrow will go down as one of my favourites of the year, and I am so happy to say that. To Liman and co, I say “well done”.

P.S. I loved the ending.

Rating: 4.5/5

-Ella

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