Iteration 20: Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

On 1,171st March 2020, I re-watched Edge of Tomorrow, aka Live, Die, Repeat. I last saw this in August 2020, so didn’t rewatch it as part of my initial time-loop movie project, which started in 2021. My original review was “started interesting but the contrived concept fell apart as it went on“.

Which seems fair. The film sets out a complicated scenario to explain why Tom Cruise finds himself resurrected every time he dies while fighting an alien invasion. The rules of this scenario are very much based around the needs of the plot, but this is an incredibly well-made movie, with some entertaining action and a fun script by (among others) playwright Jez Butterworth. Tom Cruise does some good acting and director Doug Liman apparently enjoyed making a movie where Cruise plays an incompetent hero.

In the film, Tom Cruise is military PR who is sent off to join the huge military push to retake mainland Europe from the alien hoards. These creatures are the usual fast-moving and shiny aliens that work well as CGI. Cruise restarts his day each time he days, making a little more progress each time. The mechanic is obviously similar to video games, but the film doesn’t develop this idea.

It turns out the ability to reset time is the aliens’ secret ability, which Cruise has been infected with. It makes no sense that this time-loop is carried within his blood, other than to allow a plot twist near the end. The film ends with a dramatic boss fight, after which Cruise wakes to an alternate timeline where the world has been saved.

None of this makes much sense, and the time loop is more of a dramatic device than a philosophical question, but this is a fun film. I’m not sure it belongs in quite the same category as Groundhog Day. Maybe there’s a difference between time-loop-as-existential-nightmare and time-loop-as-videogame.


  • Length of first iteration (in film): 16.5 minutes
  • Length of second iteration: 5.5 seconds
  • Reset point: death
  • Fidelity of loop: perfect repetitions
  • Exit from the loop: the boss alien is killed or the main character has a transfusion of the magic blood.
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