SYNOPSIS: Set at the height of a worldwide battle between the human race and seemingly indestructible aliens called Mimics, Tom Cruise plays William Cage, a marketing genius whose ads have inspired millions of people to enlist by telling them the story of hero Rita (Emily Blunt), a legendary warrior with more Mimic notches on her belt than the rest of the army combined. When pressed into combat something strange happens. Cage gets caught in a time loop, reliving the same day over and over. Eventually he’ll learn enough to beat this unbeatable foe. Trouble is, he has to die every day…
Richard: 4 Stars
Mark: 3 Stars
Richard: Mark, two thirds of Edge of Tomorrow is as Un-Cruiselike a movie as Tom has ever made. The Groundhog Day been-there, done-that section of the film is inventive, often played for laughs and presents Cruise in a way we’ve rarely ever seen him—as a coward. It’s a refreshing twist for him and gives him a chance to exercise his rarely used comedic chops. You know he’s going to turn heroic sooner or later, but it’s a blast to see him do something just outside his usual wheelhouse.
Mark: Richard, I enjoyed his cowardly weasel schtick as much as you. I didn’t find the Groundhog Day type plot as inventive, though—it’s been done in other movies like Source Code and About Time, but the mashup with Starship Troopers was different. The problem I had was that the necessary repetitiveness became inevitably boring after a while, and I felt like I was watching someone slowly get very good at a violent videogame.
RC: It does rely a bit too heavily on videogame style violence at the end, but I have to disagree with you on the repetitiveness of the time loop. I thought director Doug Liman figured out clever and entertaining ways to show the same thing over and over, keeping it exciting with interesting editing and changing perspectives. The first two reels are packed with energy and invention it’s only when the conventions that made the story enticing are put aside in the last reel that the movie becomes a standard Cruise action flick. A good Cruise action flick but still more standard than the promising first hour.
MB: Cruise has been in some dogs lately, but this isn’t one of them. And normally I would have dismissed the last third as too conventional, but at least it’s the only part of the movie that puts Cruise and the viewer on the same level—neither knows what’s going to happen next. I just found the time-loop a bit boring, which I also felt in Groundhog Day. I’m in the minority here, Richard, and I know it. What did you think of Emily Blunt?
RC: I’m a fan, but this is something different for her, and for action movies in general. Big budget blockbusters don’t usually make room for female characters unless they are sidekicks or girlfriends. Here Blunt avoids being objectified and is as strong, if not stronger than Cruise.
MB: I also liked Bill Paxton. Even liked watching him do the same dialogue again and again, but with a growing sense of befuddlement and disassociation as the scenes progress.
The tagline for Tom Cruise’s latest film is “Live. Die. Repeat.”
“How many times have we been here,” asks Rita (Emily Blunt). “For me, it’s been an eternity,” replies William (Cruise) as he relives the same day of an alien invasion over and over.
Edge of Tomorrow is a time-loop movie that can best be described as War of the Worlds meets Groundhog Day.
In Groundhog Day, Bill Murray says, “Every morning I wake up without a scratch on me, not a dent in the fender. I am an immortal.” His take on a drunk, suicide-prone weatherman who discovers the beauty of life by living the same day endlessly may be the granddaddy of all
Hollywood déjà vu stories, but many other movie characters have been caught in cinematic time circles.
The DVD cover for 2006’s Salvage asks the question, “What if every day you relived your own murder?” Originally called Gruesome for the festival circuit, the movie is as grim as Bill Murray’s film is life-affirming. Called a “digital video hell — spawn of Psycho, Eyes Without a Face and Groundhog Day,” by Variety, Salvage is the story of Claire (Lauren Currie Lewis), a convenience store worker who undergoes her murder over and over. Despite its extremely low budget — star Lewis doubled as the film’s make-up artist — Salvage was an official selection of the 2006 Sundance Festival.
The horror genre lends itself to time-bending tales. Camp Slaughter is a 2005 throwback to the slasher films of the 1980s. In this one, a group of modern teens stumble across Camp Hiawatha, a dangerous place where not-so-happy-campers are trapped in 1981 and forced to re-experience the night a maniacal murderer went on a killing spree. Labelled “Groundhog Day meets Friday the 13th (part 2,3,4,5,6,7,8… every one of them!),” by one critic, it’s gory good fun.
Not into gory? The Yuletide provides a less bloody backdrop for time-looping. The title Christmas Every Day is self-explanatory but 12 Dates of Christmas is better than the name suggests. Us Weekly called this Amy Smart romantic comedy about a woman stuck in an endless Christmas Eve, a sweet “nicely woven journey.”
Finally, the aptly named Repeaters is a Canadian film written by Arne Olsen, scribe of Power Rangers: The Movie. Repeaters is about a trio of recovering addicts who find themselves in “an impossible time labyrinth” after being electrocuted in a storm. Like most time-bending films, Repeaters is about learning from your mistakes. What sets it apart from some of the others are three unlikeable leads who use their situation to raise hell and break the law. It’s only when Kyle (Dustin Milligan) realizes they could be in big trouble if time suddenly unfreezes for them that familiar time-loop themes of redemption and self-reflection arise.