Free Fire

Tight spot: Well this is cosy lads!
7/10 – With more focus given to the dialogue and characters than the violence, Free Fire isn’t just your average shootout movie.
Release Date: 
Friday, March 31, 2017
Written by: 

Guns galore, this isn’t a movie for anyone who can’t laugh at violence and crime.


As the title suggests, Free Fire’s premise is literally that; two rival gangs have a mass shootout over a dispute stemming from a gun deal gone wrong, but who will emerge the winner?

Irishmen Chris (Cillian Murphy) and Frank (Michael Smiley) are waiting in their car with Justine (Brie Larson), an intermediary who has set up a sale in an abandoned Boston warehouse in 1978.

They’re joined by amateurs Stevo (Sam Riley) and Bernie (Enzo Cilenti), who offer nothing more than numbers when it comes to their usefulness in the deal.

Also on hand to keep the peace is Justine’s counterpart Ord (Armie Hammer) and his associate Martin (Babou Ceesay).

When the arms dealers arrive, led up by South African gun expert Vernon (Sharlto Copley) and his crew (including Jack Reynor and Noah Taylor) the agreement quickly turns sour when Chris points out they’ve provided the wrong guns.

While it’s unknown what their purpose for the guns is, taking into account the time period and his and Frank’s nationality, it’s predicted they’re Republican terrorists on the hunt for very particular weapons.

To make matters worse, one of Vernon’s men Harry (Reynor) recognises Stevo from a bar fight the night before and accuses him of physically attacking his cousin, leading both gangs to hold their members back before a brawl breaks out.

They can’t contain the violence for long though and in the blink of an eye, a shot is fired, triggering a shootout between the rival gangs as well as mystery outsiders who have caught wind of the arms deal.

Ben Wheatley has presented a film that isn't for the faint-hearted.

Every single person ends up wounded as the film goes on and the violence will make you flinch at times.

Luckily the much-needed humour counteracts the full-on gunplay, and there’s plenty of banter between the characters, with Copley providing comic relief throughout.

Shot in Brighton during the summer of 2016, it's clear the cast of Free Fire bonded well during the movie's production, with the chemistry between every actor evident which helps to make the movie more enjoyable.

The film certainly has a Tarantino-esque vibe to proceedings, from the plot to the exchanges of dialogue, and Wheatley offers exactly what the film title suggests; Free Fire is bold, well-paced and has enough excitement to make a simple concept work.

It’s a brave choice for the filmmaker to follow his own path rather than take the clichéd route of many of today’s feature films and it's a gamble that definitely pays off.

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