Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language and brief suggestive material
Written by Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth and more
Directed by Doug Liman
Starring Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson and more
Don't judge a movie by its trailers.
The ones for "Edge of Tomorrow," the new sci-fi movie starring Tom Cruise, made the film look exactly like every other sci-fi movie Cruise has been in over the last several years. A vague premise, executed tolerably but not well, with Cruise flashing his "serious man pain" face rather than doing any actual acting.
The actual movie, however, is a gritty, clever, moving and surprisingly hilarious movie designed to delight any science fiction fan. It wrings the humor and pathos out of the stuck-in-a-time-loop scenario better than any movie since "Groundhog Day," with both elements guided by sharp writing, excellent directing, fantastic work by Emily Blunt, and the most nuanced acting I think I've ever seen with Tom Cruise. If they'd squeezed out five more minutes to iron out a few of the questions created by the slightly-too-convenient ending, it might actually be a perfect movie.
Not to give too much away – I don't want to rob you of the pleasure of experiencing it firsthand – but the first few minutes make it clear that aliens have invaded earth and are pretty much taking over everything. Blunt is the big war hero, while Cruise is a former ad executive who became the military's PR guy so he wouldn't have to get anywhere near the actual fighting. Then he makes a few terrible decisions, and avoiding the war is no longer an option.
At that point, alien science steps in, Cruise's character starts living the same day over and over again, and the real magic of the movie begins to unfold. His first days are just as much of a disaster as you'd expect, with some surprisingly laugh-out-loud disasters, and his methodical approach to trying to figure out how to survive as long as possible is inevitably played out to its most darkly funny conclusion. Cruise shows excellent comic timing in these scenes, ably aided by Bill Paxton's always entertaining "What on earth just happened?" expression.
Cruise also manages the more serious moments admirably well, believably evolving his character from a coward into someone who might be considered a hero. He does an excellent job of communicating the weariness of someone who's had to live the same day a thousand times, along with the painful calculations required for every new lesson.
Blunt is excellent as the tough, no-nonsense warrior, ahead of Cruise in everything from skills to knowledge. Blunt plays her honestly and fiercely, never giving in to sentimentality while still showing the human nuance beneath the battle skills. Her interactions with Cruise's character range from dryly funny to surprisingly moving.
The script is a treat, with excellent dialogue and an ending that manages to be emotionally satisfying even though it leaves a plot hole or two. Liman keeps everything ticking ahead at the perfect pace, giving both the funny and somber moments just the right amount of time to keep the balance and make sure the audience's interest never flags.
There is one advantage to paying attention to the trailers, though. The movie looks even more glorious in comparison.