Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Edge of Tomorrow

Alien, Aliens, Alien 3, Alien Resurrection: repeat.

We need to talk about Emily Blunt. Since making her name in The Devil Wears Prada, the British starlet has consistently delivered great performances in films of both big and small proportions. Needless to say she is my favourite actress of any screen era.

In Doug Liman’s new high-concept crowd-pleaser Blunt once again excels in a role completely against type. She provides the cojones aplenty in this cross between Groundhog Day and Saving Private Ryan.

At the climax of an apocalyptic war against alien invaders, Colonel Bill Cage (Tom Cruise) has a comfortable existence as the army’s suave PR man. But after a heated disagreement with a military bigwig he is forced to lead a make-or-break invasion of enemy territory as a regular grunt.

Through various convoluted circumstances (which I refuse to explain here) this reluctant trooper is condemned to relive the same day over and over again, dying on each occasion. The only person who understands Cage’s plight is Rita Vrataski (Blunt), a heroic warrior, known as the ‘Angel of Verdun’ or the less complimentary ‘Full Metal B****’. Somewhere beyond these mortal plains Stanley Kubrick is laughing like me.

My weighty expectations for Edge of Tomorrow were matched by an intelligent script, displaying a high level of geek enthusiasm and self-awareness which is necessary for any science-fiction piece. Credit to Christopher McQuarrie (whose Jack Reacher was treated unfairly) and his fellow screenwriters – Jez and Henry Butterworth – for having an easy relationship with movies of the same ilk.

Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s novel was clearly ideal source material for the big screen but, like so many other bold literary pitches, required Mr Cruise’s guiding hand to shepherd its way through the doors of cautious production companies.

On screen, the genre veteran’s presence is similarly influential. This is territory the A* of A-listers could sleepwalk through barefoot and coated in honey, though Cruise has the conviction to go beyond the call of duty and offer an all-out action movie more pathos than it rightly deserves.

In spite of such a stellar effort from the leading man, however, his female co-star hogs all the headlines. All I will say is that a certain someone impressively invokes memories of Linda Hamilton by hitting the gym big time for their part – and it sure isn’t Brendan Gleeson.

Even though the plot ultimately takes a few wrong turns, the visual spectacle alone is enough to offer good entertainment. With exo-suits every nerd will want for Christmas and full-blooded revelry of battle, the ‘cool factor’ is alive and well in Edge of Tomorrow.

Come on; if the thought of seeing Blunt wield a humungous sword does not persuade you to see it then nothing will.


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