Film Review: Edge of Tomorrow

Edge of Tomorrow

Science fiction blockbuster Edge of Tomorrow is tremendous fun. Doug Liman’s film is entertaining throughout.

A solider ends up out of his comfort zone, having to fight in a war against aliens. When he gets caught in a time loop, he seems destined to relive the same day over and over again…

With its premise, Edge of Tomorrow is reminiscent of Groundhog Day and Source Code. Nevertheless, it exudes an energy which is fresh and engaging. The opening sequence succinctly introduces the world in which the film takes place. Edge of Tomorrow is a better film for keeping the focus on the action and immediate consequences, even though the wider effect is in the background.

Doug Liman’s film delivers with its breed of fast-paced action. Sequences are finely executed, with action taking centre stage. Science fiction elements are present in the effects and overall narrative. Edge of Tomorrow does not rely heavily on explanation for the events and the predicament the characters are in, choosing to eschew this for a reliance on the mission in hand. This functions successfully to situate Edge of Tomorrow as an out and out action film. The only real downside is the lack of coherence of the very end of the film.

There is a surprising amount of humour in Edge of Tomorrow, with Liman playing of the time loop for laughs. This sense of comedy makes the film much more enjoyable. Special effects in the film are good, and the score works well to add drama.

Tom Cruise is on good form as Cage. It is the kind of role Cruise is experience in, and he does a good job here. Emily Blunt is also decent as Rita; working within a genre where she is steadily building form.

Edge of Tomorrow works well because it knows exactly what it wants to be, and executes this perfectly.

Film Review: Source Code

Source Code, unlike its namesake in the film, does not have the ability to change the world. It does, however, provide a hugely enjoyable ninety minutes of entertainment.

Soldier Colter Stevens wakes up on a commuter train in Chicago, sitting opposite a beautiful young woman who seems to know him. He has no idea where he is and how he ended up there. Just as Colter begins to get his bearings, there is a huge explosion. Colter wakes up in a dark chamber, desperate for some answers…

Source Code is a well-written and well-executed movie. Its intriguing sci-fi premise retains the interest, but is comprehensible to all. The film balances this science fiction with action and suspense to produce a memorable race-against-time thriller with a twist.

The film’s premise necessitates that the same events reoccur. This could have become sluggish and repetitive, but in Duncan Jones’ capable hands the film is sharp and engaging. There is the all-important tension, but Source Code offers more than just this.

The wider implication of the technology on display is explored in Source Code. However, the film never dwells too much on the big picture. This works to Source Code‘s advantage; the fact that the focus is on the immediate story gives more weight to the fate of the protagonists. Time is permitted to give Stevens depth, and allows the audience to engage with the character and his background. Whilst a more thorough scrutiny of the technology depicted in the film may have been fascinating, this is not what Source Code is about.

The art design and cinematography in the film are great, as is the editing in the more dramatic sequences. Effects are also good, except the explosion images tend to look a little artificial. This is the only real negative in an otherwise well-produced film.

Jake Gyllenhaal is a capable action hero in Source Code. Nevertheless, it is Vera Farmiga as Carol Goodwin who gives the film its heart. Farmiga offers an understated performance, bringing a subdued but powerful quality to her character. Jeffrey Wright is convincing as Rutledge, the scientist whose concern is stereotypically on the big picture rather than the plight of Stevens. Michelle Monaghan has little to do but look pretty.

Source Code is not astounding in its originality, or likely to change the face of contemporary cinema. The film is simply a slick, enticing sci-fi thriller that successfully entertains from start to finish.