Edge of Tomorrow — Christian Movie Review

Writer Kevin Ott At Rocking Gods HouseThe latest Tom Cruise futuristic sci-fi war movie has critics raving. One critic even said, “I think we owe Tom Cruise a collective apology” — in reference to the harsh treatment that critics have given Cruise’s films in recent years. Some are even saying that it might be one of the best movies in Cruise’s storied career. Needless to say, all of these high praises from critics who usually go out of their way to take pot shots at Tom Cruise immediately peaked my curiosity in the film. Besides, Emily Blunt (#EmilyBlunt) is in it. She rules. So is Bill Paxton (#BillPaxton). He also rules. I’m a fan of them both, and it is fun to see them share the screen with such a legendary performer as Tom Cruise. I am a long-time fan of Cruise’s acting and film making style, in spite of the Scientology stuff, and he is often at the top of my list when I pray for Hollywood (and I’ll explain why a little later on).

And, in this Warner Bros film called Edge of Tomorrow (#EdgeOfTomorrow), Tom Cruise (#TomCruise) plays a soldier who gets caught in a mysterious time loop in the middle of a war with an alien race that is attacking Earth. When he happens upon a legendary super warrior (Blunt) and teams up with her, they set out to find the key to winning the war.

Parental Guidance Issues at a Glance

Sexual Content/Nudity: One scene involves a soldier dressed in his warrior “suit” in a comical way so that when he turns around, his rear is showing. It is played for laughs.

Violence/Gore: The film involves the protagonist getting killed over and over again — sometimes in creative (even funny) ways. The movie is essentially non-stop sci-fi war violence in which aliens kill countless people. Think D-Day but with sci-fi weapons and aliens. However, it is rarely graphic or gory — just very intense and nail-biting. The one exception is when a character gets his face half-melted off when he encounters an alien up close. This reminded me of the ending of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark when the death angel melts the guy’s face — except this version was more realistic using today’s special effects.

Language: One f-word, and a melee of other milder swear words (the usual assortment for PG-13 films: s-words, b-words, a-words, various misuses of God’s name and the word Hell).

Alcohol/Drug/Smoking Content: A character drinks at a bar.

Frightening/Intense Content: The aliens are scary in the “jump towards the movie screen at the audience” when you least expect it kind of way. It’s also a very stressful and psychologically/emotionally exhausting movie because of the great efforts that the heroes must make — even to the point of using their own deaths, experienced countless times, as a tool.

(Review continues below)

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“The director Doug Liman can now put another notch in his belt for making yet another genre-topping movie; Edge of Tomorrow is one of the best sci-fi war movies ever made.”

Entertainment Value and Film Craft

Doug Liman, the director of the movie, was also the director of Bourne Identity, which was one of the best spy movies ever made. Liman can now put another notch in his belt for making yet another genre-topping movie; Edge of Tomorrow is one of the best sci-fi war movies ever made. It takes the possibilities of a time loop concept — as explored in films like Source Code and Groundhog’s Day — combines it with the visual intensity of the some of the best sci-fi movies, and then places it all in a D-Day “great invasion” scenario that keeps you on the edge-of-your-seat perpetually.

What makes the film really work, however, is the character that Tom Cruise plays. In a very rare role, he is playing the anti-Cruise. He’s a normal guy — even cowardly, you might say — who has no desire to fight or be brave or do anything other than having his cushy press job. After seeing countless Tom Cruise movies where he is always playing a brave hero or warrior from beginning to end, this new dynamic made the film much more involving on an emotional level.

Emily Blunt does a wonderful job as the fierce, fearless warrior — usually the character that Tom Cruise plays. She makes a great action star, which just adds even more depth to her acting style. And the other supporting actors — folks like Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson (who played William Wallace’s best friend in Braveheart!), and Jonas Armstrong — did not disappoint. It was an inspired cast.

Really the only thing I didn’t like about this movie was the same thing I didn’t like about The Bourne Identity: Doug Liman’s trademark camera work. As a director, instead of sitting in the chair with the bullhorn like everyone else, he prefers to hold the camera himself. On his shoulder. Like he’s filming a movie in his backyard with a camcorder. It gives everything a slightly shaky feel. Yes, this adds grittiness, but it also makes my eyes tired watching it. Come on, dude, just put the flipping camera on something that isn’t walking around on two legs.

But that’s only a minor complaint. It doesn’t ruin the movie, and in some scenes it adds to the tension and feeling of chaos during battle.

Redemptive Value and Worldview (Spoiler Alert)

This movie has some powerful messages in it, and, overall, it presents an uplifting perspective on the intense value of human life. Ironically, the characters must treat their own lives with flippancy. The only way for them to defeat the aliens is by willingly dying every day in order to “reset” and go back to the planning stage before the big invasion.

Christians who are familiar with Jesus’ sermon in Luke about taking up our crosses daily and dying to ourselves will immediately draw a parallel with this film. In a very bizarre way, this sci-fi alien war movie actually works as a metaphor for Jesus’ call to His followers to die to Self every day. That is what the heroes literally do in order to save millions of lives from the coming slaughter that the aliens are trying to accomplish: the heroes must die to themselves daily and use the constant “death time loop” to improve themselves as warriors and figure out the winning strategy. Of course, there are more twists and turns than just warriors who need to become better, faster, stronger, but I won’t give away anything else about the plot.

But in general there is a very strong tone of self-sacrifice throughout the movie — even to the point where some characters do not have the chance to loop themselves and so they must decide whether or not they will still press on in battle even though they will not “resurrect” from their death. The willingness of the heroes to literally die to themselves every day and potentially sacrifice everything for the sake of others was incredibly inspiring.

In a similar way, we die to ourselves daily as Christians and grow in our maturity, in our faith, and in our “spiritual warfare” on a daily basis. We become stronger warriors in a spiritual sense in Christ. Each new day that God gives us is like the time loop from this movie: He is giving us another chance to grow.

I could on and on about the many different ways that this movie dived into this analogy. I have no clue if the filmmakers did this on purpose, but whether they meant to or not, the parallel is definitely there, and it makes Edge of Tomorrow a very spiritually edifying work of art, especially when you dive into the deeper symbolic meanings of the plot and apply it to your faith.

And, frankly, I am always cheering for Tom Cruise, and I am always praying for him. Before he became an actor — and long before he got involved in Scientology — he was studying to become a Franciscan priest. He was attending seminary and was very serious about his calling into ministry — according to what I’ve read anyways. I have always believed that the Lord has some big things in store for Cruise, and I believe God will eventually lead him out of Scientology and into a powerful walk with Christ that will inspire millions. He has a very passionate and driven personality — as seen in many of his movies — and it reminds me of the intensity of the Apostle Paul in some ways. So besides being a big fan of his acting and film making style, Cruise is at the top of my prayer list for Hollywood.


 The Edge of Tomorrow is essentially a war movie along the lines of Saving Private Ryan (well, the first 20 minutes of Saving Private Ryan). If you can handle intense war movies, and if you like a superbly made action movies, then this film is definitely worth seeing. And its inspiring spirit of self-sacrifice and its interesting spiritual symbolism make it — in a strange, unexpected kind of way — a surprisingly edifying movie.

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