Mechanical Dances

Edge of Tomorrow

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Hollywood film has had an ambivalent relationship to the video game. Some films are remediations of videogames (the Resident Evil series); other films (such as Existenz) threat the videogame as a cultural threat (because it threatens the cultural dominance of film). Edge of Tomorrow is rather unusual: it is a film that reconciles the “flow” of the videogame with the “catharsis” of Hollywood film. The repetition of the same day refers to the endless replayability of the videogame. The cathartic quality of the Hollywood tradition is subdued throughout the film—until almost the very end. At the end, Cruise is smiling because he knows that the romantic relationship is about to begin. He has gotten beyond replay and the film can now resolve itself in typical Hollywood fashion. But we never see the resolution: the film never triumphs over the videogame.

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