Doug Liam’s 2014 directorial Edge of Tomorrow was a fresh, novel take on the action-thriller genre. It was wholesome entertainment, But it was also clever and innovative. It moved at a great pace and engaged with its audience in interesting ways. Let’s put it this way, Edge of Tomorrow is not your regular Tom Cruise actioner. It reinvents the genre whilst also reinventing its star, by no means an easy feat. However, what caught my attention was Emily Blunt’s performance in the film. As the quintessential warrior figure, she was not only in great shape, but exuded the charisma only huge movie stars have. Mind you, this was seven years ago when Emily was not as big a star as she is today.
Here’s the gist of the film — Tom Cruise is Major William Cage, who is basically sent to a suicide mission where the army is fighting an overwhelming number of aliens, all headed by a mysterious, unseen one. The problem here is — and this is deeply ironical considering the action Cruise has done in the past — that Major Cage has never been on the field. He has never been called to a combat before. Once he lands there, all nerves and silliness, Cage realises the far reaching consequences of his actions. He tries to inform other people that they are making a mistake in choosing him as one of their fighters. Inevitably, Cruise dies in the movie. This is not a spoiler, because we soon see that Cage has been trapped in a strange time loop where he keeps on dying. In order to fight this strangeness and the aliens, he befriends another warrior, a rather famed and reclusive one, Emily Blunt’s Sergeant Rita Vrataski. The rest of the storyline takes off from there.
Edge of Tomorrow is a cleverly written movie that almost tricks Tom Cruise into delivering a ‘performance.’ Tom is a legitimate superstar, but he has hardly done roles in the last decade or so where he is not jumping off buildings or running at the speed of lightning. Also, what is interesting about Edge of Tomorrow is how it plays with the idea of the action genre and subverts it while adding some much-needed character. It is indeed not very often that we see a popcorn movie that has some logic and beauty in its writing, and moments that are funny enough to make you laugh out loud.
And then there are some poignant scenes as well, actually quite a few of them. But the one conversation about Emily’s character’s past that she and Tom have in the car tops the list. What is beautiful about that part in the film is that it’s a small scene, but a striking one as it helps us understand Rita’s withdrawn, self-contained nature better. You get an idea of her pain and why she is so cool at the outside, why she insists on never letting her guard down. Of course brownie points to Emily, who could have turned the scene into a soppy, sentimental one. But it is her artistry and conviction that elevates it and makes it stand out. Truly brilliant.
Hollywood Rewind: Spy Kids | 1998’s Godzilla | The Others | Phone Booth | Wild | Scream | The Godfather Part II | One Fine Day | True Romance | Little Women | Face-off | Pulp Fiction | Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon | The Age of Innocence | Mean Girls | Die Hard | Never Been Kissed | Citizen Kane | Kill Bill Volume I | Terminator 2 Judgment Day | Titanic | Heat | Home Alone | Jerry Maguire | Brief Encounter | The Truman Show | The Deer Hunter | The Shining | Clueless | Ferris Bueller’s Day Off | Blue Velvet | Taxi Driver | The Lord of the Rings I | Zero Dark Thirty | The Godfather | Say Anything | Warm Bodies | Bright Star | Malcolm X | Stardust | Red Eye | Notting Hill | Fargo | The Virgin Suicides | The Breakfast Club | Enchanted | Walk the Line | Blood Diamond | Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban | Mortal Kombat | Bridges of Madison County | Edward Scissorhands | Breakfast at Tiffany’s | She’s Gotta Have It | Ever After | The Devil Wears Prada | The Matrix | Creed | Mulan | Ratatouille | Shutter Island | Her | Dead Poets Society | Sleepless in Seattle | Waitress | Pride and Prejudice | The Dark Knight | Before Sunset | School of Rock | About a Boy | A Few Good Men | 50/50 | Begin Again | Brooklyn | Drive | Chocolat | Batman Begins | 10 Things I Hate About You | The Departed | Freedom Writers | Pretty Woman | Dan in Real Life | Jurassic Park | Tangled | Meet Joe Black | Monster’s Ball | Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind | You’ve Got Mail | Half Nelson | Fight Club | Doubt | American Psycho | Julie and Julia | Forrest Gump | The Silence of the Lambs | Finding Neverland | Roman Holiday| American History X | Tropic Thunder | Before Sunrise | Scent of a Woman | Finding Forrester | Sixteen Candles
Edge of Tomorrow is one of those films which you should ideally watch on a massive screen to realise its full impact. But it is seven-years-and-a-pandemic too late for it. With reports of a sequel being made with the same main cast we can keep only our fingers crossed.
You can watch Edge of Tomorrow on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.