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SYNOPSIS: Maj. William Cage (Tom Cruise), a soldier fighting in a war with aliens finds himself caught in a time loop of his last day in the battle, though he becomes better skilled along the way.

Review by Louise Keller:
An audacious concept, superbly executed, this grand scale sci-fi thriller will knock your socks off, combining white-knuckle tension with exhilarating action and a sense of humour. It's a darned clever screenplay by Oscar-winner Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects), whose collaboration with Jez and John Butterworth in adapting Hiroshi Sakurazaka's novel 'All You Need is Kill', not only sidesteps potential hazards involving the Groundhog Day/Starship Troopers plot, but turns them into an advantage. This is a role like no other for Tom Cruise, whose protagonist endearingly goes from smarmy coward to selfless hero. As for Emily Blunt, who could have predicted her transformation into a combat-goddess?

The stakes are high: it's about the survival of humanity and the cushion of public relations on which Major Bill Cage (Cruise) sits is unceremoniously removed when he is thrown into the pointy end of combat on the front line. The set up is so well done that by the time Cage finds himself handcuffed and dumped with the cargo about to be flown to battle in France, we are delighting in his discomfort. We remember all the little details as he is dispatched to the down-and-out J Squad before his first encounter with the aliens - the gigantic ice-blue tinged Mimics, whose striking octopus limbs move with deadly accuracy and at lightning speed. Best to discover the circumstances yourself, but all the details become even more familiar as Cage finds himself reliving the same day over and over again; each time he tries things differently in a bid to progress his cause.

Cage's encounter with the Defence Force's star-warrior Rita (Blunt) on the mud-splattered battlefield is the beginning of a relationship - for survival and saving the world. Blunt looks terrific - sleek and shapely - totally in control at all times. Cruise is at the top of his game, massaging every nuance and delivering self deprecating humour as he buckles down to the nitty gritty, when everything is on the line. Cruise and Blunt have great chemistry; their relationship is intriguing. There is a yin-yang element, a need for each other and an undercurrent of an attraction that is slowly and nicely developed. Watch out for the two Aussies: Kick Gurry as an army private and Noah Taylor as the quirky scientist. Brendan Gleeson is a welcome addition as the Army General.

Dion Beebe's camerawork on a dark canvas is exceptional and special mention to James Herbert's superb editing that allows us to jump back and forth in time seamlessly without missing a beat. Things could easily have become bogged down in boring repetition; instead there is a vibrant sense of pace and excitement as the narrative plays out.

Director Doug Liman keeps everything real - Cage's drop from the plane mid air, clad in clunky metallic skeletal armour he cannot operate, is one of the most terrifying scenes and the kick-ass fight scenes against the army of Mimics are eye-boggling. There is no shortage of spectacle and the visual effects are extraordinary, not the least in the climactic Paris sequence when the glass pyramid before the Louvre smashes to smithereens. It's an enjoyable adventure on every level and one that will keep your mind spinning long afterwards as you reset and rewind.

Published October 16, 2014

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(US, 2014)

CAST: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Lara Pulver, Jeremy Piven, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Kick Gurry, Madeleine Mantock

PRODUCER: Jason Hoffs, Gregory Jacobs, Tom Lassally, Jeffrey Silver

DIRECTOR: Christopher McQuarrie

SCRIPT: Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth


EDITOR: James Herbert

MUSIC: Christophe Beck


RUNNING TIME: 113 minutes



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