Tom Cruise gives a wonderful performance in EDGE OF TOMORROW, with a combination of heroism and “are you kidding me?”
We know that a time travel film is a convention of absurdity so there’s often a comic, tongue-in-cheek sense of “look, you and I know this is rather ridiculous but let’s agree that it’s not for the sake of this story.” Here is how you know a film is in the spirit of comedy: when the film is over and when the hero makes the world right again, no one actually got hurt. In EDGE OF TOMORROW you see a lot of dying, constant deaths, but ultimately no one is hurt. Other good examples of this convention are BACK TO THE FUTURE and TERMINATOR.
However, in films like THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE and SOMEWHERE IN TIME, time travel is used as a romantic device. For example, time travel in SOMEWHERE IN TIME is not some sort of sci-fi device, there is no time travel machine, no DeLorean car that goes to the future or the past. In SOMEWHERE IN TIME, you will yourself back into the past. And the ability to will yourself into the past is based on how deeply you love. And so it’s kind of a psychic time travel based upon love, and passion.
EDGE OF TOMORROW is also a perfect example of multiplying the forces of antagonism. Just when you think they have reached the limit of these forces of antagonism, it builds again in a spiral and you think there is no way out of this. Turning points keep spiraling up and constantly surprising you, keep on building the negation of negation right to the edge. And finally, when you’re saying enough is enough, they switch gears again and end the film brilliantly.
I highly recommend it.
Robert McKee - Oct 15, 2014