"Seriously – if you don't start billing me as 'Oscar Winner Brie Larson' if every movie I'm in, I will shoot!" Justine (Brie Larson) prepares to defend herself in a scene from director/co-writer Ben Wheatley's action comedy/drama FREE FIRE. Credit: Kerry Brown, courtesy of A24 © 2017 A24 Films. All rights reserved.


KEY CAST MEMBERS: Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy, Sharlto Copley, Jack Reynor, Sam Riley, Babou Ceesay, Noah Taylor, Micahel Smiley, Enzo Cilenti and Patrick Bergen

WRITER(S): Amy Jump and Ben Wheatley

DIRECTOR(S): Ben Wheatley


HERE'S THE STORY: Set in a Boston warehouse in the 1970s, Free Fire stars Cillian Murphy as Chris, a man who has come with his partner Frank (Michael Smiley) – as well as their bumbling hired help of Stevo (Sam Riley) and Bernie (Enzo Cilenti) – to buy guns. Meeting up with their contact Justine (Brie Larson), they then meet up with Ord (Armie Hammer), Vernon (Sharlto Copley) and Martin (Babou Ceesay) to do the deal. The guns are checked out, the money is exchanged and everything is good to go. All that remains to be done is have Harry (Jack Reynor) and Gordon (Noah Taylor) bring in the rest of the weapons and then everyone can go along on their own merry (and likely violent) way.

There’s just one problem: Stevo (who is already sporting a black eye) recognizes Harry as the man that beat him last night at a local bar. It seems that Stevo had been hitting – quite literally, as it turns out – on Harry’s cousin. And Harry, being a very dedicated family man, isn’t exactly to see him, which sets him off.

So what do you think is going to happen when guys with hot tempers and access to a lot – and I mean a LOT – of guns start shooting off (pun intended) at the mouth at one another? Here’s a hint – it’s not gonna be good for everyone inside that warehouse!

WHO WILL LIKE THIS FILM THE MOST? People who like B-movies; those who enjoy films that have cheesy elements without being cheesy their selves; Sharlto Copley and Armie Hammer fans; those hip to the source material and style in which the film is told. 

WHO WON'T (OR SHOULDN'T) LIKE THIS MOVIE? People who hate gun violence and won't get the irony of the gun violence in the film; people who hate films with excessive profanity; those who will find the film to be an imitation of a Quentin Tarantino film

SO, IS IT GOOD, BAD OR ABSOLUTELY AWFUL? A film that could best be described as a Quentin Tarantino movie w/out the long, snappy, self-important dialogue but retaining most of the violence and humor, Free Fire is 90 minutes of irreverent, enjoyable entertainment.

Essentially almost one long running joke poking fun at shootout/heist movies, Free Fire features a great pair of performances from Hammer and Copley, both of whom embrace the idea of the suave criminal with great aplomb. Instead of using their wardrobe to make their characters, both actors utilize their characters to make everything else about them – their apparel, their attitude and the general ridiculousness of the situation to make them dynamic. 

However, the thing that works to Free Fire's advantage is its own sense of self-effacing humor: All the characters are essentially terrible people doing terrible things that are also terrible shots. Like, really terrible. The gunplay is essentially a character in and of itself as who's getting shot next and the way it makes each of the actual players react is a major component of Free Fire's value. Taking on a full B-movie tone in terms of its storytelling, Free Fire serves as director/co-writer Ben Wheatley's own live action cartoon that has more in common with Wile E. Coyote and the RoadRunner than say the Grand Theft Auto franchise despite its level of violence. You get a mix of simple storytelling (here's what goes wrong when you mix guns and ego), a bit of ridiculousness (all the shooting) and a slight dose of Hollywood self-effacing humor (what would really happen in a shootout among criminals, guns are such an easy out clause for people in action movies, etc.). Clocking in at approximately 90 minutes, Free Fire is long enough to tell its story and hit its marks before completely losing steam. 

Then again, it's hard to lose steam when all the guns are still smoking from the last shot.



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