Free Fire Review
Free Fire is acclaimed director Ben Wheatley’s latest endeavour, a gung ho effort akin to Reservoir Dogs, but with the wit of a Shane Black script. It’s 1970’s Boston, and a gun deal is set to go down in an old, abandoned warehouse on the docks. Everything is going singly, until it definitely isn’t. One party involved are Chris and Frank, two Irish looking to get some weapons to bring back home. The other, the dealer, is Vernon. And the strings behind the deal are those of Justine and Ord.
There are more players in this game than the above, and partly what Wheatley does best is weave this story around them all and giving them all a very decent share. There subplots surrounding subplots, but neither feel arduous. This action comedy, a genre it’s better than, is enticing throughout and this ultimately down to it’s gripping story meshed with utterly quotable dialogue.
The most quotable, and the MVP of the picture, is certainly Shallot Copley’s Vernon. Constantly threatening to own the film, the South African hams it up as he tries and fails to act tough in front of the Irish, tries and fails to flirt with Brie Larson’s Justine, and tries and fails to weasel his way out of the gunfight. The gunfight in question is the result of an off screen fracas between two of the players, putting the whole deal in jeopardy.
Cillian Murphy and Michael Smiley play the two Irish after the weapons, their wit and charm only bettered by their arms smarts. Ord is played by the devilishly handsome Armie Hammer, and that trait comes to play here in the film. It’s part of his character, it leads to his confidence, which quickly becomes coolness in the heat of the moment. It’s aggravating.
This leaves each person fighting for their life, and the lives of their peers. The pressure mounts as the plot progresses, and while the gun slinging might not be as intense as Wheatley has provided in the past, it’s not needed quite as such. The suspense is in the characters injuries as time passes, and how each deals with that and mounts their challenge. And it seems everyone is out for everyone else.
As the bullets slowly start to run out, and more time goes by, the story reaches it’s ultimate conclusion and we are truly at the edge of our seats by fruition. Wheatley has composed a fine piece of art, one we know is not a fluke. He’s been doing this for a while, we can just count ourselves lucky to be around for his next labour.
Free Fire is released in the UK on the 31st of March