2 June 2014

Live. Die. Repeat.


Edge of Tomorrow is a film in which Tom Cruise dicks about with aliens and everybody thinks he's mad. What a stretch that must have been for him! Right, I've already talked about the film and made a shit joke so now it's time for me to go off topic. God, I hate my life. Like, it's actually fucking shit. I drive to work where I get bollocked for being crap at my job and then I drive home were I'm bollocked by my step-mum for still being alive. To be honest, I think that knowing how much my existence annoys her is all that's stopping me from driving head on into a fucking wall. Is this getting too grim yet? I suppose it's meant to be a movie blog and not a suicide note so I'll lighten things up a bit. Hey, have you ever noticed Tom Cruise's front two teeth? They should be in the middle of his mouth but they're not. They're actually off to the side for some reason. I promise that once you see it you'll never un-see it ever again. If you thought a cult that rapes its followers’ bank balances before treating them to bullshit secrets about little green men was weird then just wait until you see Tom Cruise’s smile. Oh, and did I mention that I'm only one bad day away from slashing my wrists? Sorry, no- ignore that.. It got dark again. We're here to discuss a film and so that's exactly what we'll do. Have you seen Edge of Tomorrow yet? I'm thinking of sticking my head in the oven. It's a good film. It's about a man who has a really shit time every single day and from the moment he wakes up. How unbearable does that sound? Fuck my life...

Okay, in case you actually don't know what the film is about then here we go... At some point in the near future, Europe is invaded by Aliens who promptly decide that they don't want us living here and so set about making our life a misery. It's actually a very similar set up to the one me and my step-mum have going on. Tom Cruise is an advertising guy who’s sent to fight in what we hope to be our final battle in France, after he tries to blackmail his way out of having to film it. He gets there, he screams, an alien finds him, his face gets burnt off and he dies. His time on the battle field was shorter than he is tall, and despite being strapped into a massive metal kill-suit, he proves himself to be about as useless as a forgotten lump of turd. Then he wakes up again earlier that morning and relives the whole affair over and over again only learning how to get slightly further every time he dies. I suppose Edge of Tomorrow is basically just a sci-fi remake of Groundhog Day but with less focus on being a romantic-comedy and more on depicting the variety of violent ways a man can die. The reason Cruise is reliving the same day is explained at some-point as he teams up with Emily Blunt's hardened alien killer who is affectionately known as the Full Metal Bitch. In case the name doesn't give it away, she's actually really cool in this. Having also previously had Cruise’s power, she recognises the cold dead look in his eye as being more than just a result of his association with scientology and so sets about training him to win the war.

Same shit, different day.
To be honest with you, I genuinely love Cruise as an actor and beyond Knight and Day, I'm still yet to see him give a bad performance in anything really crap. Regardless of what he gets up to in his private life, he is a good actor and so unless he's playing himself or the film is about scientology, then who gives a fuck how he spends his time. Sure, you could argue that by paying to see one of his movies you're basically giving him money to help fund his mad cult, but so what? With the amount of films out there I'm pretty sure that there's also going to be some actors who have used their movie money to keep drug dealers in business. Should I just not pay to see any film in case the lead plans on celebrating with an arse full of cocaine and a tasty bottle of tiger blood? And what about war films? How many people have joined the army and been killed after being brainwashed into believing the poetic beauty and implied heroism of Apocalypse Now or The Hurt Locker. Sure they all present themselves as being anti-war but there's no denying that to a certain kind of person they do glamorise the idea of being tarted up in camouflage and then sent for a jolly trek across a minefield. Where films are concerned, the only thing you can ever do is just take it for what it is and try to forget any irrelevant details beyond the story and how well it's told. Regardless though, and I know I'm not the first to make this joke, but Cruise gives a great performance as the character here who gets shot in the face over and over and over again. Whether you love him or hate him then Edge of Tomorrow is definitely the film for you. 

As the poster claims, this is from Doug Liman, the director of The Bourne Identity and is probably his best film in a good while. To be honest, I actually quite liked his movie Jumper but there's surely no denying that it was at least a little bit shit. You know you have problems when you make a film about globe-trotting, teleporters and the only thing anybody can remember about it is Samuel L Jackson’s bizarre choice of hair colour. With this though, Liman has found an equally great concept and actually delivered it in a really competent and exciting way. Beyond the great action, I think the key to making Edge of Tomorrow work is its humour with Cruise's variety of girly death screams only getting funnier. There are times when he gets run over or crushed in which the timing is both so shocking and hilarious that it's as though Liman has simply incorporated the most fucked up blooper reel into the narrative of  his film. Remember that bit in Groundhog Day in which Bill Murray is trying to shag Andie Macdowell and all we get is a montage of her slapping him? Well, imagine that but with Tom Cruise, aliens, a beach and explosions instead. As action movies go, this one was actually surprisingly fucking great. I suppose the last ten minutes started to drag a little bit but so do the last ten minutes of every action film ever so I guess I can't hold that against it too much. There's also a ridiculously stupid moment in which Cruise clearly gets well-and-truly fucked in a plane crash and yet manages to limp away from it and carry on shooting. However considering how ridiculous the actual story is, I think it's a complement to the movie that I only thought that moment was stupid after having apparently bought into the rest of its enjoyably bullshit set-up.

It's funny too really, as anybody who’s ever seen a film based on a videogame or played a videogame based on a film will know, humanity seems to have no clue on how not to make them shit. However there are a few good computer game movies that are actually great with their only cunning little trick being that they're not actually based on any computer games at all. Existenz, Crank and Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World are three examples of this with Edge of Tomorrow now also joining their exclusive little club. Cruise learns the layout and dangers of each area he's in and then advances a little further after learning how he'll next fuck up from his previous death. Have you ever played Dark Souls? I'm playing it right now and to put it bluntly, that game is a massive fat cunt. You press start, play for five seconds, die, press start, play for seven second, die, press start, play for nine seconds and then die. This goes on and on until you realise that by now you've been playing for three days straight and are not only still in the same area but you've turned grey and unwittingly nurtured a stomach ulcer. Dark Souls is, I imagine, a bit like heroin in that it's clearly not good for your health but is distracting enough from real life that it becomes really addictive. It's a good game! Anyway, so that's basically what's going on with Cruise in this film with each fresh start essentially returning him to his save point before making him do it all again but this time without dying. You could argue too that as his character develops his personality and skills, he's also basically levelling up. There's a scene later on in which Cruise infiltrates a military base that couldn't have been more video-gamey had it had random buttons pop on screen for us to hammer into a controller before we throw it against the wall and scream “Bastard!”

Seriously though, check out his wonky middle tooth.
In fact, that exact scene is kind of similar to when Bill Murray steals the money bags in Groundhog Day, but if the writers had re-written it with more guns and then injected the script with steroids. They say that the sign of a great film is one in which you see your personal baggage reflected back at you and that is definitely true of this one. In Groundhog Day, Bill Murray's boredom of repetition and frustration with any lack of progress reminded me of my grim stint in the shit-pit of being unemployed. Edge of Tomorrow obviously has a similar vibe going on but for me seems more reminiscent of my life now instead. As hinted to during my self-pitying, mad ramble at the beginning, it feels like the grimness is a little non-stop at the minute with work and home being the mental equivalent of constantly being kicked in the bollocks. The same is true for Cruise's character who wakes up each morning to the exact same day but instead of Murray's boredom he just gets a constant barrage of pressure and stress. However if there's one message that Edge of Tomorrow seems to be trying to convey it's that if you want things to get better then you'd better take control... I suppose it made me realise that I guess I need to, too. This may also have been influenced by a pre-film tough talk that I received from my friends after they asked me about my day and I told them that a petty turf war with my Step-Mum over the location of the washing-up basket was about to topple over into all out warfare. As a result, both them and Edge of Tomorrow have helped me to realise that if I want things to change then I'll have to get off my arse and make something happen. Will I look for a new job, go on a college course, scream at anybody who screams at me or instead simply find a nice tall building and throw myself off? Well, at this point I know as much as you. I really do recommend Edge of Tomorrow if you haven't already seen it but I guess you'll have to come back next time to find out whether Tom Cruise has just saved my life or pushed me even closer towards suicide. Has a film blog ever presented such tension? Probably, but I'm doing my best. Thanks for reading and see you next week... I hope.. 

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