By Michel Gonlag (Rotterdam, The Netherlands)
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If the Tom Cruise-film Edge of Tomorrow tells us anything, it is that Americans don’t really understand why people sometimes criticize them for going to battle to easily. When the most powerful nation in the world interferes in a domestic (Muslim-driven) quarrel, the American leaders look at each other questioning who’s taking the blame ‘when the body bags are starting coming back’. Logically, because the loved ones of the bodies in the bags wonder if the remote quarrel was worth sacrificing their sons and husbands. In Edge of Tomorrow Europeans are almost extinct because aliens have taken over the continent. There is some probability that they won’t leave it by that and will take over other continents, like for example North America. It seems unlikely that anyone would criticise a government that takes up the arms against a threat like that. Yet, in the very beginning of the film the general who leads an enormous invasion army ready to attack the damned aliens on the European main land (the aliens haven’t crossed the English Channel yet) seems more worried about the people blaming him for returning body bags then about the outcome of the battle. The makers of that film must think that this is the new trend in army politics, no matter what the reason is to go to battle.

In a way Edge of Tomorrow is a metaphor for what the Nazi’s did in Europe in 1940-45 and in case you didn’t immediately get that, in the film the American army uses Great Britain as a springboard to invade the north of France and reclaim Europe for mankind, just like it did on D-Day in 1944. That is alright – although it is of course a miscomprehension of the phrase that history goes in circles – but not alright is that the army uses modern, very fancy flying vehicles instead of an armada of ships, but still has to land on the beach. Why? There is no good answer to that. It just looks more like Saving Private Ryan and that is a very good film (well, the first half hour is). Like Groundhog Day is a very good film with an excellent Bill Murray endlessly waking up every morning on the same day. A great thought experiment, which you can’t even begin to try to explain. Tom Cruise has the same experience as Bill had in Groundhog Day and even manages to show the same sequel of reactions as good old Bill showed: first surprised, then confused and after a few ‘days’ slowly passing in a more practical mode, understanding that the advantage of this new reality is that he can improve his skills in extremis.

Tom Cruise acts very well in this film and so do a few other actors. Technically the film is almost perfectly done, although I couldn’t get rid of the feeling I was looking at someone else playing a computer game.

I’m afraid there will never be a film made that is to be compared with the original Edge of Tomorrow, because there isn’t much original in Edge of Tomorrow. The heart of the aliens in Europe is hidden under the pyramid in the Louvre in Paris. I can’t help thinking of The Da Vinci Code. And even that original film was better (but not good).

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