Sunday, April 23, 2017

Movie Review: "Free Fire" (2017)

Movie"Free Fire"
Director: Ben Wheatley
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Image Source
Two groups come together for a gun deal when suddenly, it goes horribly wrong and all hell breaks loose.

"Free Fire" is directed by Ben Wheatley, who also wrote the screenplay along with Amy Jump. The two have worked together in the past on films like "High-Rise" and "Kill List." This action crime comedy boasts an ensemble cast, including Academy Award winner Queen Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, Cillian (pronounced Killian) Murphy, Sharlto Copley, Babou Ceesay, Noah Taylor, Jack Reynor, Sam Riley, Michael Smiley, and Enzo Cilenti. These actors make up two different groups, one of which is an Irish gang/possible IRA/IRA sympathizers who are buying assault rifles from a South African illegal arms dealer named Vernon, played by Copely. After a personal disagreement between one member from each group, things quickly go south during the deal and free fire ensues swiftly and often.

There isn't a whole lot of depth to "Free Fire." Wheatley and Jump don't spend a lot of time developing characters and giving back stories to the situation other than surface level necessities. There is no "this person has a family at home," "this person has a sick mother," "these are our heroes, these are the villains." We get none of that here. We believe this movie doesn't call for or need that kind of in-depth development. Wheatley doesn't want you to get connected to these characters or to be sad when a specific one dies. It's simply group A wants to buy guns, group B wants to sell guns, a personal matter comes up between two lesser members of each crew, and they all start shooting each other for a literal hour. This is the one critique about the movie we agree with. It really consists of the same thing from start to finish without a lot of variety.

This is a humorous, tongue-in-cheek action comedy that's not meant to be taken seriously. It is loaded with quips and funny banter, f-bombs abound, and lots, and we mean lots, of bullets. There is a consistent mass of confusion as people are shooting every which way in the worn down warehouse where this deal is taking place. The audience doesn't realize who is shooting at who, and this is clearly intentional as many of the characters are just as confused and wind up shooting people in their own crew on accident for maximum hilarity.

The cast is fantastic and charming, which certainly helps because a less talented, less likable cast would have certainly hurt the tone and the overall feel of the movie. Sharlto Copley is the main standout in this eclectic bunch of characters with a faux-swagger on the outside but a bitchy disposition on the inside. We wish he were in everything because he almost always elevates projects with his dynamic on-screen personalities. Brie Larson doesn't get a whole lot to do, but she's great in this, as is Armie Hammer, who has redeemed himself a lot in the last few years. He plays the actually suave pretty boy with witticisms up the wazoo.

"Free Fire" basically contains a little bit of hemming and hawing before an prolonged loud, intense, balls-to-the-wall shootout full of wild and crazy characters, tons of fun, era-centric costumes, and a killer soundtrack. Even though the violence is frequent and is somewhat played for comedy, it is never over the top or cartoonish. We can honestly say we had a good time with this one. It provides a violent, darkly humorous time, and if you're on board with what it's trying to accomplish, you may enjoy it, too.

My Rating: 7.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 7.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 66%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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1 comment:

  1. A screenwriter writes a script, which is the story of the movie with words and things that the actors will say and do. Then a producer hires people to work on the movie and gets all of the money that will be needed to pay for the actors and the equipment.