Free Fire

Free Fire

(2016)

A gun trade goes hilariously wrong in this ‘70s-set, one-room, guns-a-blazing comedy from director Ben Wheatley (High-Rise).... More

Massachusetts, late '70s. Justine (Oscar-winner Brie Larson) has brokered a meeting in a deserted warehouse between two Irishmen (Cillian Murphy, Michael Smiley) and a gang led by Vernon (Sharlto Copley) and Ord (Armie Hammer) who are selling them a stash of guns. But when shots are fired in the handover, a heart stopping game of survival ensues. Produced by our lord and saviour Martin Scorsese.Hide

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The Peoples' Reviews

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BY fairbrother superstar

A dozen outlaw and hustler-types, of differing backgrounds and styles, converge in an abandoned warehouse for a major arms deal. It goes so well that they're soon swept into a prolonged, close-quarters shoot-out, a maelstrom from which it's unlikely anyone will walk away in one piece. Much of the cast - who bring some real acting-game in ways you won't expect - spend half of their screen-time crawling around on the floor, either for cover, or because they're so full of holes they can't walk.... More There's also at least one moment where, trapped and bleeding behind their various hiding spots just spitting distance from one another, the characters must take stock to remember exactly who's shooting at who and why. Oh, it's Boston in the 1970s too, so everyone looks funny.

This is definitely intended as a pulpy B-pic for the cheering punters, but if you pay close attention to the structuring, choreography, and editing you'll realize there's some serious filmic craft at work here. Free Fire makes six rather nifty little movies in a row for husband-wife duo Ben Wheatley (who directs) and Amy Jump (who writes and edits with him). They specialize in artful, sometimes subversive, but never-pretentious genre riffs: here it's a One Room Action movie. They precisely draw out their "single" action scene into a miniature-epic so absurdly violent and cynically amoral that it's often scary and funny for the very same reasons. It's sort of like Sam Peckinpah played for horror-comedy, carefully balanced between visceral authenticity and cartoonish exaggeration, and it's quite a blast. I laughed, gasped, and squirmed the whole way through.Hide


The Press Reviews

  • Alas, for all its stellar talent, Free Fire is a scattershot exercise in genre homage that ultimately misses the target. Full Review

  • Crosses the irreverent cheekiness of Quentin Tarantino's "Reservoir Dogs" with the ruthless spirit of 1970s B-movies... Full Review

  • Ben Wheatley shouldn't settle for becoming the next Guy Ritchie. For some reason, he'd like to. Full Review

  • "Free Fire" is not Wheatley's best film, but it is a rollicking good time and, more important, an inadvertent skeleton key to thinking about and understanding the rest of his films. Full Review

  • Mr. Wheatley's "High-Rise" was a highlight of 2016, and again he shows that he's a technically virtuosic director whose humour has a bracingly nasty side. He's also no dummy. Full Review

  • A smug knockoff of Quentin Tarantino's brand of ironic violence, at several degenerations' remove. Full Review

  • Loud, ripe, violent, bloody and blackly funny, Free Fire cocks its gun right in your face. See it – and bring earplugs. Full Review

  • Far more than his previous films, which tend to unfold in a dream-like daze, Free Fire is a mad contraption, bristling with bravado and black, sardonic wit. Full Review

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