'Edge of Tomorrow' (2014) Movie Review

Edge of Tomorrow movie review
Tom Cruise in Edge of Tomorrow
Photo: Warner Bros.

Edge of Tomorrow is one of the best, true action blockbusters we've had in some time. It's a film that sneakily places action and character on an even keel, using a "cause and effect" approach where the action helps define the characters rather than merely exists to blow something up or wow us with some new digital special effect.

Director Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity) has edited down a lean feature that manages to shift perspective even while operating within a storyline that must repeat itself time and again. What we've got here is an impressive balance of action and tongue-in-cheek humor, great chemistry between leads Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt, perfect casting in Bill Paxton and a storyline that is hardly unique, but entirely satisfying. In short, you'll be hard-pressed to find a more-entertaining big budget actioner the rest of this year.

Edge of Tomorrow
Grade: A-

Edge of Tomorrow"Edge of Tomorrow" is a Warner Bros. release, directed by Doug Liman and is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language and brief suggestive material. The running time is .

The cast includes Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Charlotte Riley, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson, Noah Taylor, Kick Gurry, Dragomir Mrsic, Franz Drameh and Elaine Caulfield.

Adapted from Hiroshi Sakurazaka's graphic novel "All You Need Is Kill", Edge of Tomorrow finds a world on the brink of destruction at the hands of an alien lifeforce that somehow knows the humans movements before they're ever made. Cruise plays military PR officer Bill Cage, a man that's never been on the front line, but has sold the idea of fighting for human survival for years.

In an unexpected twist of fate Cage finds himself demoted to private and tossed in with the grunts, flying over the battlefield on his way to what is expected to be the final assault. He's killed within minutes, but his story doesn't end there as Cage is caught in a time loop allowing him to relive the same day over and over, fighting and dying every time. It isn't until he meets the war's literal poster child, Special Forces soldier Rita Vrataski (Blunt), that things begin to fit in place.

Rita is the only one that knows what Cage is going through and uses it to their advantage, training and killing him daily, improving his skills as a soldier as he learns how to anticipate the ins and outs of the battlefield. Blunt and Cruise have perfect on screen chemistry and she, in-particular, seems to have a knack for getting the best out of her co-stars as we previously saw in The Adjustment Bureau opposite Matt Damon. Blunt has this chameleon-like ability to be both tough, endearing and fragile all at the same time and when opposite an actor up to the task, the result is a lot of fun to watch.

In this case, the story does a great job playing off Cage's relationship with Rita. As he lives and dies, again and again, Cage finds himself learning more and more about Rita while she continues to meet him for the first time each day. Ignoring the psychological aspects Cage would face (he'd clearly go insane), the result adds a complex, emotional layer to a rather straight-forward action narrative. Liman and the films screenwriters allow the characters and story to dictate their feelings rather than explicitly spelling it out for the audience time and again. Edge of Tomorrow, at least in terms of character building, took the "less is more" approach and benefits greatly.

Speaking of which, screenwriters Christopher McQuarrie and Jez and John-Henry Butterworth do a great job of moving the action along, despite the necessary redundancies in the story. Though, I could have done with about half as many "On your feet maggot!" lines. In essence each time Cage lives and dies they are playing a game of chess, trying a new strategy to win the war each time out, gaining information and training, looking for new ways to defeat their opponent. Some ways work, some don't. Some result in something mildly humorous, others more emotional, all ending in death.

I must admit I'm a huge fan of Tom Cruise, have been for as long as I've been watching movies. I'll watch anything he's in and while I haven't been the biggest fan of all of his most recent outings I look forward to each and every one of his films. This can lead to a lot of disappointment, but it also tells me that when I enjoy a film of his as much as I did this one, then it truly is a standout effort.

Along with Cruise and Blunt, the casting of Bill Paxton as Master Sergeant Farell is perfect. Paxton brings exactly what you'd expect, a hard-nosed GI approach to the character, with just that little edge of humor infused as only he can deliver. And speaking of the film's humor, it's not about forced punchlines or witty one-liners. Instead it's scenes such as one where Cage is seen running around killing a shit-ton of aliens while his fellow soldiers look on in wonderment, "What's his name again?" It's both spectacularly awesome action and almost so over-the-top you can't help but smile.

Edge of Tomorrow is hardly a unique story, Groundhog Day comparisons have been around since the first time the film was announced, and the way they must go about winning the war is something you've seen in such films many times before. But it's about the presentation of the story, the editing, the actors and pace at which Liman and his team keep things moving that make it so entertaining. For a blockbuster of this size and with this many special effects to come in under two hours and to maintain so much focus on the characters without beating us over the head with exposition is a minor miracle and a welcomed one at that.


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More Reviews
  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/KQ/ KQ

    Wow, its good to see second A for Summer Season from you Brad....
    I skipped the Review & going tomorrow to watch it with High Hope :-)

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Winchester/ Winchester

    Definitely enjoyed the film hugely, and that it seems to trust it's audience to keep up with the pace and dial down the exposition to the minimum although I feel someone who didn't like it could argue the other way and that it's cutting corners. I thought it looked absolutely great as well, and I'm probably going to try and see it again, which so far I haven't done with any other film so far this year. Although I may try and get to -X-Men: Days of Future Past' a second time if I can.

  • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3769949/ thatpj

    I found it totally meh. Once it abandons it's gimmick, it's just another Tom Cruise action film with ridiculous looking aliens.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Adu/ Adu

    bo ya!
    Excited with the positive buzz behind this, I hope it translates in to dough for the film here in the States and elsewhere.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/EPayneDDS/ Erik

    As a self proclaimed Cruiser, this review makes me happy.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Ian/ Ian

    I just can't drum up any interest in this at all. I love Emily Blunt but she's the only remotely interesting aspect for me.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/StringerBell/ Stringer Bell

    That's three blockbusters with really positive reviews. Lets hope this trend keeps going.

  • Rohan Michael Morbey

    Saw it at the IMAX last week and totally agree with this review, I go A over A- even. It delivers everything you'd want from a blockbuster and so, so much more. Listen to Brad, and see this film!

  • agent_smith

    I too enjoy tom's movies but disagree in that I really liked Jack Reacher and Oblivion. But maybe my taste is not refined enoug lol but I like the emotion and the characters he play in that they are easy to like.
    I have obviously not been keeping up on my news as imdb states there is a jack reacher 2 and top gun 2 in the works? Also he is going to star in van helsing?

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Adu/ Adu

      I really like Oblivion, but Jack Reacher was just passable.

      • agent_smith

        I actually have watched jack reacher 3 times, thx netflix lol but that is just me. For me a good movie is one that can keep your interest the whole time and not have many (if any) out of place moments or moments where something just isn't plausable. But hey, im easy to please lol.

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Adu/ Adu

          Fair enough :)

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/CoryS./ Cory S.

      Jack Reacher is a gem. People will realize it when it's too late.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/CoryS./ Cory S.

    Okay, now I'm hyped for this. Like you Brad, I greatly anticipate a new Cruise picture. I just like the guy because you can tell he gives maximum effort in all of his pictures. This looks no different.

    Friday night, here we come.

  • http://cineenuruguay.com/ Driver

    Great review. This is a blockbuster with the perfect amount of brains, character, humor and action, in a story that never stops and feels fresh actually by repeating itself. I'm seeing it again this week. This is an A for me.

  • Dimitris Tsi

    Nicholas Cage should play the role of Bill Cage but with Rage at his Age!

  • Jarret

    Yay! So pumped to see this.

  • http://filmemignon.blogspot.com/ Corbin

    I knew that this was going to be something special from the first trailer I saw. Someone asked me if I was crazy to think that this would be special, and I stuck to my guns. Glad to see it holds up, it makes me feel validated. Anyways, hoping to see this Friday, though unlikely.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/azjoker1/ azjoker1

    Wow. The trailers look OK but the reviews have really got me interested in this movie. An A- from you seems to really tell me that I'll love it. The same happened with Days of Future Past.

  • http://letterboxd.com/jchastained/ JessicaChastained

    Totally agree with you on this one, the more I think about it, the more I love it.

  • http://reelprojection.com/ GothamCity151

    Totally with you on this one, Brad. It's been a long while since a summer blockbuster has done really anything for me, and this one just worked. It's fun. It's not too self serious. It executes its gimmick very well. The action gets a little shaky cam for my tastes, but I can look past that. I was invested in Bill and Rita, and I can't say I've been invested in a big movie like this for a long time.

  • http://www.licacfilm.blogspot.com dam94

    Absolutely an A- film. Ridiculously entertaining and well worth seeing in 3D.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Torryz/ Torryz

    Brad you're right about Blunt. She is really good with her male co-stars including Looper. I was excited to see this!

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/JNFilms/ JN Films


  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Mikey/ Mikey

    After last years ho-hum offering of blockbusters, I'm glad to see two A-'s already this year. I hope I agree with you here as much as I did with X-Men: DOFP.

  • andyluvsfilms

    Glad its good, gonna try and see it the weekend. Cruise is champs.

  • Xarnis

    I knew this would be good. Definitely seeing it this weekend.

  • https://twitter.com/delaney_david David Delaney

    Loved it. Wonderful premise thats used to build the story organically, rather than in huge exposition dumps. It's nice to watch a big movie like this and not feeling like I'm being patronised the whole time. Not sure why people are so down on the Cruiser, but he's on amazing form here. To mix comic, dramatic and action chops is no mean feat. I hope people go see it but the turnout at my showing was extremely sparse.

  • http://www.twitter.com/marlonwallace marlonwallace

    I have a question that warrants a SPOILER ALERT.

    I don't know if I like and/or understand the ending, meaning the final shot/scene. I had the same problem with the ending as I did with SOURCE CODE. The scene right before the final scene was where the movie should have ended. It would have been perfect, not necessarily happy, but perfect to me. Except, the movie goes on and gives us a nice, happy Hollywood ending. Or, was it? Yes, Tom Cruise is smiling in the final shot, but what does it mean? Is it happiness that everything is A-Ok, or is it happiness that he's just in the moment relieved to see what's literally standing in front of him, ignoring the big picture problem, which may have been also reset? I don't know. Does anyone have any thoughts about that?

    • JOSH

      He is happy that all the people that he had seen killed were still alive...especially her, of course. The ending, of course, made no real sense but then again time travel and remembering everything between each time loop is impossible as well. This is a movie where the part of the brain that controls logic must be turned off. If one can do that then it's absolutely great!

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Brigite22/ Brigite22

      I just saw this movie over the weekend and I had the same reaction as you. I loved the movie right up until the last scene. In my opinion, this scene makes no sense in context with the rest of the film. Apparently now Cage has the ability to not only reverse time (by 2 days this time) but can also change the past without reliving it? I get that Hollywood wants everything tied up with a happy little bow, but at least make it fit within the rest of the film. I, too, would have greatly preferred the movie end without the last scene.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Newbourne/ Newbourne

    I just saw it and was blown away. It was a spectacular film. A lot of people are comparing it to "Groundhog Day", but it reminds me much more of "Source Code". In fact, I'm shocked no one else has made the comparison yet.

  • http://www.theuncool.com Greg Mariotti

    Just left a very packed screening. Everyone was into it and word of mouth should be strong. The film was great on every level with only a few minor quibbles. Didn't love the acting of some of the supporting soldiers and the slightly shaky cam was annoying at times.
    That being said, it was the best times I've had with an action/sci fi film in a long time. I'm a huge Cruise fan, but what can you say? He's always committed, commands the screen and picks good filmmakers to work with. Emily Blunt is quickly becoming a must see actor. Tell your family and friends. This is worth dealing with the idiots at the theater and seeing on the big screen.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/kathrynlynn/ kathrynlynn

    I wish this film was doing better box office wise because I'd love to encourage more of this type of film.

    I laughed a lot, there was a lot of humor mined from the script and performances- this was the best I've seen Cruise in a little while.

    I hear a lot about the denouement of the film and how people didn't like it, without spoiling, I'd just like to say that with the way they cut it- it felt really organic and completely natural to the story. I love convention when you buy into the characters and stories.