Review: Edge of Tomorrow

Working from a lean puzzlebox of a script, Doug Liman has made his best film since the first Bourne, a tough, thrilling caper that’s funny as well as fun, and remembers to stimulate viewers’ brains as well as their eyes.

Tom Cruise is more watchable here than he has been in years, largely because his character is allowed some moral grey area. Rather than the squeaky clean enigmas of late, he plays Cage, a smarmy PR guy who’d rather commit blackmail than help fight an alien invasion. He’s punished for that choice repeatedly, and a lot of the humor in the film comes from how far out of his depth he is from the get go.

The central conceit – that Cage ends up reliving the same day over and over, one where he has landed on a battlefield swarming with aliens – manages to keep firing off in different directions, allowing a movie about repetition to never feel repetitive. For most of the runtime Liman wrings maximum thrills from the non-linear time shenanigans, until a turn into slightly more conventional territory near the end.

Emily Blunt gives her character warmth and vulnerability as well as muscles and a battle-weary glare, and Brendan Gleeson and Bill Paxton tear into their supporting roles with gusto.

The other stars of the film are the alien Mimics, blurs of spinning tentacles that are pretty terrifying, and – wisely – never really dwelled on. Rather than just linger on CG spectacle, for the most part Liman trusts the story to provide enough thrills, and its mashup of genres proves wildly entertaining.

‘Edge of Tomorrow’ Movie Times (also in 3D)