Ben Wheatley delves into the 1970s again with his fast-paced and thrilling new film, Free Fire. All set in and around an abandoned warehouse that is now host to gangs selling guns, Wheatley and Amy Jump write their large-collared, mustachioed characters into a sticky situation when a group of Irish buyers find themselves unexpectedly pushed into a shootout against their dealers, with mutual colleague Justine (Brie Larson) stuck in the middle.
The film is mostly well-paced and manages to stay hilarious despite the continuous gunfire that sprays across the latter hour. The acting is brilliant, everyone working together and creating the good chemistry that makes Free Fire such a charming viewing experience. Sharlto Copley in particular gives a great performance as Ord, an excitable but naïve South African gang leader, with practically everything he says provoking laughter. The use of dialogue and physical comedy create a fun atmosphere that keeps the laughs coming whilst the stakes remain high, preventing the film from becoming too serious.
Despite all this fun, the final act of Free Fire does become a little tiresome, the high energy and movement never really letting up to allow a pause – which reflects the experiences of the characters on screen, but makes for a tiring final 30 minutes as the action continues to intensify without much deviation from its preceding formula. This, however, is a small price to pay for the excitement of the first two acts. The film is short – only about 90 minutes – so even if it does drag a little, it’s over before your bum can go numb.
Free Fire is a high energy comedy shootout that may lose a bit of steam as it goes on, but is a fresh, stylish and adrenaline-filled piece of cinema that’s definitely worth the time.
CAST: Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Sharlto Copley, Armie Hammer, Enzo Cilenti, Sam Riley, Michael Smiley, Babou Ceesay
DIRECTOR: Ben Wheatley
WRITERS: Ben Wheatley, Amy Jump
SYNOPSIS: A deal between two gangs at a deserted warehouse quickly goes south when they are forced to turn on each other in a shootout.