A closer look at… Edge of Tomorrow

Note: Guides from our archive are in a slightly different format and have been edited here to make them more user-friendly. This guide was written by Hannah Rowe.

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Edge of Tomorrow is rated 12 for moderate violence, threat, infrequent strong language. The film is available on DVD.

The Scoop

An alien race known as the Mimics are about to conquer the world, starting with Europe. Lieutenant Colonel Bill Cage (Tom Cruise) is a cowardly army marketing man who finds himself unceremoniously sent to the front line to fight. Despite the fact that he kills a rare Alpha, he dies within minutes. Then he awakens again, back at the beginning of the same day. Somehow, the Alpha has condemned him to live this day over and over again, fighting and dying in an endless loop.

There is only one person who seems to understand what is going on. Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), known as the Angel of Verdun, is a celebrated Special Forces warrior. She trains Bill so that every day he is able to fight more skilfully. Together, they plan to use his unique power to beat the invaders. But for it to work, Bill will have to ensure that he does one thing every single day: die.

Dig Deeper

  • Did you enjoy the film and why, or why not? If you saw it in 3D, what (if anything) did this add to the experience?
  • Did the film create a believable portrait of the near future? How did the sets, locations and, in particular, the colour scheme, help to create this world?
  • What did you think of the way that visual effects were used, especially to create the Mimics? To what extent did the film remind you of a computer game?

‘Because Edge of Tomorrow is effectively about the infinite refloggability of cinematic horses, it manages to break the chain of formulaic repetition and come out surprisingly fresh.’ – Critic Jonathan Romney

  • Did Edge of Tomorrow remind you of any other films, and in what ways? By deliberately taking repetition as its theme, did the film successfully differentiate itself from other action films? If so, why was this the case?
  • Why do you think that Bill is initially labelled as a coward and a deserter? Does this make him less likeable and why, or why not? What causes him to change his attitude as the film progresses?

ALL YOU NEED IS KILL

  • How did you respond to the relationship between Bill and Rita? What did you think of the romantic scenes in the film? In what ways, if any, were they different to those from the romantic subplots of other action films?
  • The film talks about the difficulty of seeing the same person die over and over again. To what extent does it seriously address the grief involved in situations of war? Did you find it emotionally affecting and why, or why not?
  • The reference to Verdun and the Normandy-esque beach scenes are deliberately reminiscent of World War One. How might this backdrop affect the way that viewers respond to the film? What difference does it make that the film is set in the near future rather than the past? What comment might Edge of Tomorrow be making about real-world warfare, both in the past and the present?

‘The film’s a lot about rehearsing to get perfection.’ – Critic Henry Barnes

  • To what extent might the film be read as a metaphor for, or parallel of, the process of making an action film? Does it have any broader messages about the frustration of practising to get something right? If you had to live one day of your life on repeat, which one would you choose?

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‘You never come across an empowered female role in an action movie anymore. They’re usually holding the hand of the guy and running behind them as if they didn’t know where to go unless she’s holding his hand.’ – Actress Emily Blunt

  • How was Rita presented, and what words would you use to describe her? To what extent did the film subvert traditional gender roles? What difference, if any, did this make to the way that you responded to its plot overall?
  • What lessons does Bill learn about selflessness and sacrifice? These themes are common in action films; did Edge of Tomorrow have anything new or different to say about them? What difference, if any, does it make that no-one but Bill ultimately remembers his heroic actions?

‘When the body bags start coming home . . . people start looking for someone to blame.’ – General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson)

  • What did the film have to say about individual responsibility during a state of war? Did it have anything to say about the morality of fighting in a war against a super-human force, and how might this message be applicable to wars between different human factions?

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‘Tomorrow morning you will be baptised, born again.’ – Sergeant Farrell (Bill Paxton)

  • To what extent is Bill driven by the determination to make the situation right? Why are people drawn to the idea of having a second chance, or being ‘born again’? Are we able to have such a chance within our own reality? If so, how might this be possible?
  • Sergeant Farrell claims that there is hope for cowardly Bill: ‘hope in the form of glorious combat’. How does Bill discover hope in the film? Is it through his abilities as a soldier, his relationship with Rita, his determination to beat the Mimics, or something else? For people in your own community, what provides a source of hope?

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