Russian Master Andrei Tarkovsky named his autobiography ‘Sculpting in Time’ as he was always fascinated by the concept of time in cinema. As we know from a multitude of movies using time travel and time loop as plot devices, cinematic time, or the time we experience while watching a movie, can be bent, squeezed or stretched. Based on the filmmaker’s insights and imagination, such movies can go on for infinite running time, hypothetically.
However, the humongous popularity and fan following of time-related movies owe to their cryptic structure and tricky endings. Movies like ‘Naked,’ ‘The Endless,’ ‘Doctor Strange,’ ‘The Infinite Man,’ ‘Looper,’ ‘Déjà Vu,’ ‘Run Lola Run,’ and ‘Back to the Future Franchise’ used time as a stunning plot device to keep us engaged till the end, and grill our brains for weeks after watching them.
‘Edge of Tomorrow’ stands apart from the above-listed movies with its weird plot structure, which reminds us of a combat video game. The film also leaves us on a cliffhanger as it ends with a cryptic shot. There are many interpretations for the open ending climax scene. The most prominent among them being the time loop theory and the movie narrative’s similarity to video games. ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ never uses time loop in a gimmicky way; it uses the concept as the core of the plot. In that sense, it makes the form of the movie its content and content of the movie its form. Cryptic, isn’t it?
If you had bought the home video format of the film, you would be familiar with the title, ‘Live. Die. Repeat.’ The makers chose to release the movie in an alternative title, which hints at the theme in a more explicit way. Released in 2014, ‘The Edge of Tomorrow,’ aka ‘Live. Die. Repeat’, is set in the near future. The movie, directed by Doug Liman from a screenplay written by Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth and John-Henry Butterworth, is based on a 2004 Japanese light novel, ‘All You Need is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka.’
The film depicts a dystopian Europe invaded by the mighty alien forces, Mimics, in the year 2015. The world nations then form a United Defense Force (UDF) to fight back. By 2020, the UDF manages to push the alien forces back and grab a crucial victory in Verdun. The British UDF General Brigham assigns Major Cage (played by Tom Cruise), a talking head working in the public relations without any combat experience, to cover an operation in France called ‘Project Downfall.’