A.I. Artificial Intelligence
Brendan Gleeson shows up as a gruff general who, when Cage—a public relations expert not a soldier—tries to talk his way out of filming the upcoming invasion in an attempt to sell the tactic to the public, sends him to the front. Other than that, he is woefully underused. In fact, Gleeson’s lack of a role is easily my biggest complaint against Edge of Tomorrow. He’s one of the best character actors in the game, but he is given almost nothing to work with here. In another movie this role could have been anyone, a throwaway role, but on a production of this scale, they got someone awesome that they don’t even need to utilize.
The movie I want to tell you to watch is John Michael McDonagh’s The Guard, which is a 96-minute showcase for Gleeson’s considerable talent. But that has nothing to do with science fiction, not even at all, so you should check out some of his incredible character work in genre movies like Steven Spielberg’s A.I.. He plays Lord Johnson-Johnson, a vehemently anti-android preacher man who rails against the artificial life forms any chance he gets. It isn’t a particularly large role, but it is memorable, and a nice illustration of what he can do. Cough, you should still watch The Guard, cough.
I feel bad suggesting Jumper to anyone, because it sucks and you shouldn’t watch it, but it’s also the only sci-fi movie that Doug Liman has directed other than Edge of Tomorrow. He’s most known for helming The Bourne Identity, which aside from this is probably his strongest movie. While the most recent installment of the Bourne franchise has some science fiction elements—Jeremy Renner plays a genetically enhanced, intentionally mutated super soldier in The Bourne Legacy—but Liman had nothing to do with that movie, so I’m shit out of luck with that one.
But I want to include another Liman film on this list because his touch is a big part of what makes Edge of Tomorrow so good. He balances action and humor in a way that many directors would flub, and as heavy, bleak, and grim as the mood can get, he never lets it weigh down the story, pace, or characters. This really is a strong piece of work on his part, though it’s one that doesn’t have all that many people talking. Some say the best directing jobs are the ones where you don’t notice their presence at all, and this is definitely one of those. So watch Jumper if you’ve already seen The Bourne Identity and want to be a Liman completist.