Title – Free Fire (2016)
Director – Ben Wheatley (Down Terrace)
Cast – Cillian Murphey, Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, Jack Reynor, Sam Riley, Sharlto Copley, Babou Ceesay, Michael Smiley
Plot – During late 1970’s Boston a group of various criminal factions fight it out to the death in an abandoned warehouse after a seemingly simple firearms deal takes a turn for the worst.
“You want the weapons? Or you don’t want the weapons?”
Review by Eddie on 13/11/2017
There will never be anything that can take away the fact British director Ben Wheatley delivered one of the great sophomore films of recent times when he unleashed Kill List onto the unsuspecting movie-going public in 2011.
A brilliant and sensory exploding experience, Kill List instantly set Wheatley out as a filmmaker to take note of but sadly since that event, Wheatley has struggled to capture the filmmaking brilliance of his sophomore effort, even if he remains a unique and hopefully still a filmmaker that’s works represent his undeniable talents.
Since the time of Kill List’s release there was the low-budget oddity A Field in England, the divisive Sightseers, the sporadically brilliant yet forgettable High-Rise and now the most disappointing Wheatley feature film of all, Free Fire.
A terribly misguided and frankly lifeless action/comedy, Free Fire is the type of film with a loaded cast and an idea that on paper must seem brilliant but as an end product, this ammo heavy experience fires blanks on all cylinders.
Never once threatening to become exciting or even funny enough to justify its existence, Wheatley fails to enliven this tale of a group of colourful criminals shooting at each other for an hour straight in an abandoned warehouse after a gun deal turns bad and wastes a downright fantastic cast on material that needed more than a quick polish and shine.
Wheatley’s wastes an A-list cast that includes headliners Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Armie Hammer and recognisable faces and character actors like Noah Taylor, Michael Smiley, Sharlto Copley and Jack Reynor, as the collection of actors spend more than half their screen time either grimacing in pain or without a word of the lie, crawling around the ground of the warehouse as they slowly but surely dwindle in numbers.
For a film so focussed on just being one big long firefight, there’s no imagination or inventiveness with anything that’s happening on the action front which makes the bullet-ballet nothing more than a tiresome experience and most tellingly of all, we never care about who survives and who doesn’t, taking away any tension or thrills we may’ve got from hoping our favourite baddies would escape from the carnage around them and get away with the suitcase of money at the heart of the deal gone bad.
Final Say –
Free Fire is boring, tiresome and generally uninteresting. I’m still a huge Wheatley fan and believe he still has a bright filmmaking future but this Martin Scorsese backed event is his worst feature film yet and another unfortunate step backwards from the highs of Kill List.
1 crawling criminal out of 5