Starring: Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy, Sharlto Copely, Michael Smiley, Jack Raynor.
Ben Wheatley has released a startlingly strong and diverse body of work for someone so early into their career. From his assured 2009 debut, Down Terrace up to 2015’s J.G Ballard adaptation High Rise, Wheatley has become a director who I am excited to see what they’ll create next, Free Fire is no different as I have been chomping at the bit for this film’s release for quite awhile now.
Two IRA members and their American associates meet with a group of criminals in an abandoned warehouse with the intention of buying a stash of guns. When tensions between the two groups erupt into a firefight, they are all fighting for survival.
I am a massive fan of Wheatley and all his previous work so I may be slightly biased. Free Fire is a ridiculously fun film, a shootout comedy featuring Wheatley & his perennial collaborative writing partner, Amy Jump’s trademark flair for humorous witty dialogue that adds some wonderful levity to the protracted feature length gun fight. Though it may be slender on plot, In the films 90 minutes run time, Free Fire succeeds in walking a deft tightrope of comedy & action, raising laughs and thrilling with its anarchic duck & cover to & fro.
As with many of Wheatley’s past films, Free Fire boasts an incredibly strong ensemble cast. From Cillian Murphy & Michael Smiley’s IRA duo looking to secure automatic weaponry for their cause in a deal brokered by Brie Larson’s go between and Arme Hammer & Sharlo Copely’s Gun runners, this cast gel together so well. With acid tongued back and to being thrown around by the principal cast, this is a film destined to spawn a cult, quote spewing following (“Is that perfume? ITS BEARD OIL!”). The film is arguably stolen by Sharlto Copely’s Vernon, a clueless South African crime boss who’s snappy suit & Affirkanns accent provide much of the films wonderfully delivered laughs, special mention should also go to Armie Hammers suave bad-ass Ord who delivers wilting put downs with a side helping of semi-automatic death.
If you are a fan of Wheatley’s previous work, you are going to love Free Fire. It is Wheatley doing what he does best and firing on all cylinders. With this being his most commercial film to date, it will hopefully bring him some much deserved attention and a new army of converts to his brilliantly expanding body of work.