Alien invasion is so cliched a theme that it has been explored time and again by all kinds of movie makers, from visionary James Cameron’s “Aliens” to last year’s mediocre flick “Oblivion”. It is such a surprise that one can have such an enthralling and rejuvenating experience watching an endeavor in such frequently charted waters. Edge of Tomorrow is a movie that proves this point, that even a movie that shares its theme with a myriad of others can be so original and can get you to “live on the edge” for its entire run-time.
Cruise is not your typical American action hero here, but a craven officer in the US military, who is coerced to tag along with a real squad into an attack on the aliens that fails before it even begins. Cruise, however gets lucky when he kills a rare alien organism called the Alpha and inadvertently usurps its power to turn back time. Then its a complete roller-coaster ride with the protagonist living the same day every time he dies, gradually learning from his experiences and getting better at fighting the aliens every time. You would fear that a movie about repetition could get tedious and interminable very soon. However, the smart screenplay and direction ensures not only that you are not bored by the repetition but also that you are riveted to the screen with new challenges faced by the leads in every new round. Whats different about this movie is that though it is about alien invasion and has a lot of derivative material, it has a unique manner of presenting it, jocular and pensive at the right moments.
Cruise-critics can stop castigating him for playing the same intrepid hero in every movie, because in this one, he is too good playing the timorous coward who cant even stand the sight of paper cuts. Although he transmutes into a brave soldier later, its fun while it lasts. Blunt is exceptional as the vaunted warrior Rita Vertasky, who is the only one who knows whats going on with Cruise’s character. She is tenacious, abrasive, formidable and impassive, which is a nice contrast to Cruise’s character who is more meek, polite and urbane. None of the others have major roles but it would be apt to say that everyone does their job. The soundtrack is virtuoso, especially during the repetitive scenes, and the 3D is fabulous.
Although it seems impeccable in itself, it wouldn’t have hurt to explicate the aliens a little more. A “District 9” archetype where television footage explains the theme, was used for this, but it wasn’t as nicely done as was in the source itself. A little more time exploring the relationship between lead characters would have added more color. Nonetheless, this one is a must-watch for smart direction, screenplay, 3D and a coward Cruise character. My verdict: 9 on 10.