Thursday, April 23, 2015
Edge of Tomorrow
Based on the light novel All You Need is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, Edge of Tomorrow is the story of a public relations officer who is forced to take part in a war against aliens on Earth as he finds himself in a time loop whenever he dies. Directed by Doug Liman and screenplay by Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth, and John-Henry Butterworth, the film is a sci-fi thriller where a man is being trained numerous times following his death to kill aliens with the help of a soldier. Starring Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Noah Taylor, and Brendan Gleeson. Edge of Tomorrow is a thrilling and exciting film from Doug Liman.
Set in a futuristic world where Europe is ravaged by an alien invasion, the film revolved around a military publicist who is forced to go into combat to fight the aliens where an encounter with one has him in a time loop as he teams with a soldier who knows what is happening to him. It’s a film that does feature a lot of exposition that plays into the world of time travel where this man finds himself getting killed several times and then come back to live where he encounters the same thing every day as he and this top soldier try to change things for the future. It is a film where two people become aware of what is happening and what they’re facing a planned invasion against aliens proved to be fatal prompting this officer and soldier to try and change things before the invasion ever begins.
The film’s screenplay does carry some expositions about the idea of time loops but it manages to pay off since it does help drive the story and the development of its central characters. Notably the character of Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) who had never been in combat as his job is to spread the good news about the war against these aliens when he is really just lying to the public. When he refuses to cover an invasion out of fear, he ends up being sent against his will as a soldier forced to fight with others where he would meet the super-soldier Sgt. Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt) during the battle as she would train him after times he would die as she knows that he is in a time loop as it had happened to her in a previous battle where she helped the humans beat the aliens in that battle. Since she is unable to know what will happen, she trains Cage as they both try to find this mysterious alien object and destroy it or else humanity gets wiped out.
Doug Liman’s direction is very intense as it plays into not just the chaos of war but also play into a world where humanity might not have a tomorrow. While it is a film that has a lot of heavy drama and sci-fi context, Liman does balance it with elements of humor as it relates to Cage dying over and over again. The sense of repetition manages to not only amp up the humor but also showcase the humility in Cage as he is forced to deal with the reality of his situation and what he could do with it. Liman’s compositions are quite stylish in terms of angles but also in re-creating the same scenes to play into the repetition where there will always be different results as Liman’s approach to wide and medium shots often set up what will happen but also how some images manage to repeat themselves. Even in moments where Cage would die once again as he would meet Rita telling her what they did wrong as they would also confer with a mechanic named Dr. Carter (Noah Taylor) who was a government scientist that knows a lot about these aliens.
Liman’s approach to repetition not only allows the audience to understand what is happening and the characters that Cage is fighting with but also in what he and Rita could do to set things right. Most notably in the third act where Liman takes great advantage of the locations in Britain where the film is set to play into a world that is now gone as it adds to the stakes of what they’re doing. Even as their encounters with the aliens would have severe consequences about the power that Cage has in order to reset time as he copes with what had happened as Rita is also figuring out how to avoid the chaos in battle. Especially as its climax revolves around this being which they need to stop before anyone would get destroyed in this invasion that would eventually be a slaughter. Overall, Liman creates a very engaging yet entertaining film about a man who keeps getting killed and finds himself in a time loop to find ways to save the world.
Cinematographer Dion Bebe does excellent work with the cinematography from its low-key approach to color with its exterior and interior lighting schemes along with some very dark and colorful lights for the scenes set at night. Editors James Herbert and Laura Jennings do amazing work with the editing to capture some of the chaos that goes on in battle with its fast-paced cutting while slowing things down for its element of suspense and humor. Production designer Oliver Schon, with supervising art director Neil Lamont and set decorators Elli Griff, Gena Vasquez, and 3D drafter Chris “Flimsy“ Howes, does brilliant work with the design of the ships and base where the military does its job as well as the look of certain locations in their ruined state. Costume designer Kate Hawley does terrific work with the costumes from the look of the uniforms to the design of the armored suits the soldiers wear in battle.
Hair/makeup designer Sarah Monzani does nice work with some of the makeup such as a scar on Rita‘s head and other marks for the soldiers to showcase their experience in battle. Visual effects supervisor Nick Davis does fantastic work with the look of the monsters as well as some of the look of the cities to play into its sense of dread and terror that looms in the film. Sound designer James Boyle and sound editor Dominic Gibbs do superb work with the sound from creating some sound effects for the aliens as well as capturing many of the elements in the battle scenes. The film’s music by Christophe Beck is wonderful for its bombastic orchestral score that also features more low-key and somber elements that play into the drama as well as pieces for its humorous moments while music supervisor Julianne Jordan brings in a decent soundtrack of pop and rock songs.
The casting by Lucinda Syson is great as it features notable small roles from Charlotte Riley, Jonas Armstrong, Kick Gurry, Dragomir Mrsic, Franz Drameh, Tony Way, and Masayoshi Haneda as a squadron Cage would work with every day as they’re unaware of what is happening to them as they would later be useful for the film’s climax. Noah Taylor is excellent as a former government scientist who understands how the aliens work as he knows what Rita went through as he also tries to help Cage out in how to defeat the aliens. Bill Paxton is superb as Master Sgt. Farell who is the leader of the squadron that Cage would work with as he makes sure everyone is on their feet for the mission as he is unaware of what will happen. Brendan Gleeson is fantastic as General Brigham as the military leader who runs the whole operation as he would put Cage into combat to make sure things go well.
Tom Cruise is brilliant as Major William Cage as this military publicist who is inexperienced in battle as he gets killed many times but finds himself in the same situation when he arrives at base through a time loop as Cruise manages to bring in some humility and humor in his role. Finally, there’s Emily Blunt in an incredible performance as Sgt. Rita Vrataski as Blunt manages to be the total scene-stealer as a woman that is a supreme badass who had been through everything Cage went through as she guides him while being quite distant which gives her the unfortunate nickname as Full Metal Bitch as Blunt brings a lot of nuance and depth as it is one of Blunt’s finest performances.
Edge of Tomorrow is a remarkable film from Doug Liman that features top-notch performances from Emily Blunt and Tom Cruise. The film is more than just a typical sci-fi action-thriller but one that has a sense of humor while not being afraid of not taking itself so seriously. In the end, Edge of Tomorrow is a phenomenal film from Doug Liman.
Doug Liman Films: (Getting In) - (Swingers) - (Go (1999 film)) - (The Bourne Identity) - (Mr. & Mrs. Smith) - (Jumper) - (Fair Game (2010 film)) - (Mena)
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