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A review of edge of tomorrow a film by doug liman

Aaron Taylor-Johnson and John Cena play a pair of soldiers who, while scoping out an oil pipeline in the middle of the desert, find themselves pinned down by a sniper with a deadly aim.

It's intense, pared-back, and a marked change of pace from the bigger productions Liman's made over the past few years. With his latest film out now in the UK, and American Made, his drama starring Tom Cruise on the way very soon, we spoke to Doug Liman about the challenges of making The Wall, the studio response to The Bourne Identity and its cultural impact on release - and what we can expect from his sequel to Edge Of Tomorrow.

An obvious question, I suppose, but what made you choose such a small, contained project in the midst of the other things you've been making? I loved the script, and different scripts require different sized productions.

So I never really left the mindset of making small movies even when I'm doing a bigger budget movie. I'm interested in the kind of character work that is more in independent movies. I'm interested in the kind of anti-establishment ethos that goes with making an independent movie.

Edge Of Tomorrow: Doug Liman reflects on the title changes

I like to bring that to studio films - usually to the consternation of the studios. When I was making Bourne Identity, I wasn't making a dumb action movie like they were expecting it to be. And even the style of shooting, Bourne was my first non-independent movie, my first studio film, but I was running around Paris with Matt Damon shooting in places we didn't have permits to be in.

That honestly gave the film its shaky, handheld feeling, because we were running into places like the Gare du Nord without permits.

I had the camera on my shoulder.

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I filmed Tom Cruise in my editing room, and he did his own hair and makeup. So I've never been far from making an independent movie.

But The Wall, what makes the a review of edge of tomorrow a film by doug liman so riveting is the scale - that you're at ground level with these two soldiers. There's no help coming, there's no cavalry, and there's no cutting away to somewhere else. The soldiers are trapped there and you're trapped with them.

I've always been interested in giving the audience a first-person experience in my movies. If Jon Favreau's going to Vegas for the first time in Swingers, I want the audience to have the experience of going to Vegas for the first time.

In fact, I filmed my own first arrival into Vegas, because I had never been to Vegas before - the first shots of Vegas in Swingers are my first views of Vegas. In The Bourne Identity, I wanted to give the audience the feeling of being in the car with Jason Bourne, not just watching him drive but be in the car with him, and The Wall is the continuation of that immersive filmmaking style.

Where you're trapped behind the wall with Aaron Taylor-Johnson - for better or worse you're trapped there with him. I thought it almost feels like a first-person videogame, a bit like Edge Of Tomorrow. But then when the pain hits, you realise just how real the story's going to be. I make unconventional superhero films. Jason Bourne is a version of a superhero. Tom Cruise has the super power in Edge Of Tomorrow. These modern American soldiers are a version of a superhero, with the firepower they have, all of the gear they carry into the field, they're like Iron Man.

And the weapons are so ridiculously powerful. But it's real; the thing that most captivated me about The Wall was how extraordinary the adventure was, yet it's totally real and grounded. You don't have to exaggerate any of it. I get the impression the way you choose projects is, you pick things you've never done before, and you're not sure how you're going to do them. And also, worlds I'm interested in.

Like, I didn't grow up with friends in the military, but when I read The Wall and started talking to the few people I did know in the military, to get inside that world, I became fascinated with it, in the way that my father's work in Washington exposed me to the American intelligence agency, which led me to make The Bourne Identity.

I'm very much interested in learning about different worlds, immersing myself in them and then sharing that with an audience. But from a filmmaking point of view, I'm looking for challenges, and I have a very short attention span. The idea of making a film with two actors, and for a lot of it one, terrified me. Because I don't like movies like that - I like movies where you change location. When movies are great, I'll watch two actors on screen, but it's a terrifying challenge for someone with such a short attention span as I have.

To do something that by definition needs to be claustrophobic. There's no help coming for these soldiers. It's a kind of film that gets more intense and riveting the longer you go, trapped behind the wall with them. There's the interesting reversal where the Iraqi soldier has the upper hand, and the well-armed American military guy, his weapons are effectively useless because of where he is.

It's tackling something in the Iraq war without talking about the war itself. I made a film called Fair Game set in Washington, and it was very much about the war, should we go to war.

When you're in the trenches, you don't have that luxury. And if you're in the trenches, the other guy's the villain. Because he's trying to kill you. There's no other way to look at it. How has your approach to filmmaking evolved since Bourne?

I know you've said that every film's a film school, so has it changed over the past 15 years? I don't know if it's changed, because I'm still drawn to characters on adventures. Like, that's an itch I'm still trying to scratch. The adventures of these two soldiers in Iraq in The Wall. I'm still captivated by people leaving their ordinary lives and going off to have big adventures. And, do adventures still exist?

Have we so tamed our world that the adventure's gone? I keep finding ways where it's alive and well here and alive and well there.

You can still find adventure.

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Even Edge Of Tomorrow has a sense of realism, like on the beach with your big fight in the sand. It feels like an element of realism's always something you're looking for in your movies. Yeah, because I'm interested in characters.

No matter how extraordinary the situation, I'm really interested in how people act when put into extreme situations. What was incredible about The Wall is that it was the most extreme situation that I've put any character in any of my movies, and it's also the most honest.

It's the least made-up; it's the one that's been repeated hundreds of times over the past 10 years in the Middle East. No, and it makes guns frightening in a way that films often fail to do. Do you think you've improved at playing the Hollywood game?

Working with studios and producers? Um, a little better. I'm a little less combative, but the day I'm not seen as combative at all would worry me. Because it is a business and it is a system, and it doesn't always encourage originality.

I'm in a unique position, because so many of my films have been original and they've been successful, but I'm brought projects where people are looking for something conventional from me. When I started working on Edge Of Tomorrow, we were working on the script and a draft came in that was awful. My studio executives loved it, and I was going to tell them how awful it was, and what idiots they were, and my agent at the time said, "You don't always have to be the bad guy.

Why don't you let someone else point that out. It doesn't always have to be you. To have a little bit of patience, because movies are my life. I don't have children, and I'm like a mother lifting up a car if their kid's trapped under it - there's nothing that gonna stop me from trying to protect my movies.

Whatever happens to me is irrelevant. Because I come from independent movies, I loved making The Wall, I'm happy to make independent movies, the studios don't hold any power over me. Because there are only a few studios out there, but I'm happy making independent movies, so there's no threat they can lord over me.

The thing I'm terrified of is making a bad movie. I get equally terrified when I'm a review of edge of tomorrow a film by doug liman a commercial that it won't be good. If I'm making something, my heart and soul goes in it. And I found on that commercial, because I was legitimately worried about drowning every day - we were out on the waves a review of edge of tomorrow a film by doug liman jet-skis - that the fear of drowning was way more comforting to me than the fear of making something bad.

That was the set I was most happy on, because I could deal with the fear of drowning. So the fear of creative failure is worse. It's interesting, because it feels to me that Hollywood studios are in a bit of a double bind; they recognise that unpredictability makes for interesting films, but at the same time, it makes them nervous.

Yeah, it's a crazy business we're in, because millions and millions of dollars are being spent on art. When I finished Bourne Identity, the studio hated it before it came out. They said it doesn't look like other movies; there's no one who knows anything. They wrote it off. They were like, this is a huge disaster. They stopped advertising it. The main writer on the movie arbitrated against himself to not get sole credit; everybody was running away from the movie before it came out.

Doug Liman interview: The Wall, Bourne, Edge Of Tomorrow 2

They were running away from me. It just goes to show, given the success of the movie - the fans loved it. Even when the movie's done, the studio doesn't necessarily know whether it's succeeded or not.