Edge of Tomorrow or how Tom Cruise died 200 times to save the world

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Edge of Tomorrow
Warner Bros.

“Don’t like Tom Cruise? You’ll love watching him die on repeat!” amused director Doug Liman when it came out.

Edge of Tomorrow will be rebroadcast tonight on TMC. What is the action movie of Doug Liman (Mr. and Mrs. Smith) worn by Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt ? Here’s our lengthy review, published when it was released in June 2014.

Inspired by the novel All you need is kill of Hiroshi Sakurazaka illustrated by Yoshitoshi Abe (to be read on occasion, it’s quite different from the film), Edge of Tomorrow presents itself as a lambda SF action film calibrated for the beginning of the summer. A priori, Tom Cruise who fights evil aliens in the near future, it’s deja vu, the end is written in advance, in short, difficult to make your mouth water. Except that the key to the story, the one that apparently convinced the production and the main actor, is elsewhere.

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A time loop away from the gadget
Edge of Tomorrow follows Cage (Cruise), a soldier who inherits a curious gift by killing an alien attacker: every time he dies, his day begins again. The movie’s promo didn’t lie when it advertised a hero who dies 200 times, and Doug Liman obviously has a field day with clever editing that spares nothing to its “hero”. In tandem with Rita (Emily Blunt), Cage pretty much misses everything on a loop before being in focus. What could only be a trick is perfectly integrated into the action and allows many codes of the genre to be overturned. The unique ability of the protagonist to start all over again as soon as he is eliminated very quickly gives a pleasurable video game side to the staging, and proves to be an inexhaustible source of humor: the way in which he takes his marks in trying different approaches to escape his situation, the advantage he has over the other characters, and the cynicism of Rita, the only one aware of his power, who drags him down and does not hesitate to shoot him down as soon as ‘she feels that they are no longer advancing… Edge of Tomorrow bathed in a second degree rare for the genre, moreover reinforced by the nature of the hero, a soldier in the front line who has no desire to be there. Cowardly, clumsy or even downright stupid, he acts as a drag throughout the first part of the film, and it’s good to see Tom Cruise let go and remember how funny he can be. Conversely, Emily Blunt is downright a female Rambo that would come straight out of a Expendables futuristic: when these two are forced to work together, it sparks.

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A mix of influences

The screen and the realization are therefore a kind of supercharged cocktail that draws from all styles with a ladle. The buddy movie for the main duo (because fortunately we escape the silly romance, thank you war), the basic extraterrestrial film, the story of a “chosen one” alone able to be able to stop everything thanks to his power, and of course the principle of the loop which evokes both An endless day and SourceCode permanently, sprinkled with a zest ofWe have to save the soldier Ryan. If the feature film never transcends its models, it juggles with them in a devilishly effective way. Too many repetitive battles at the front? Hop, we switch to a comic scene, then the heroes face the military administration before setting off again to attack the invaders. This balance holds almost to the end, even if the outcome remains fatally banal and predictable.

Of course we can regret that Edge of Tomorrow is content to be just entertaining and never tries to go beyond its own references, or the absence of trauma of the hero who after a while no longer cares at all about dying, or even that the secondary characters have no never have time to exist, limited as they are by the repeating loop. But we must admit that we are not here for that and that the feature film clearly announces the color from the start. Rather than seeing a too naughty time travel film, we can remember toEdge of Tomorrow a funny and original alien invasion film. Liman’s work is as much one as the other.

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SPOILERS

Petit cocorico: the most famous scooter driver in France is entitled to a “appearance” at the beginning of the film, and that is priceless.

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