Free Fire is what would have happened in Reservoir Dogs if they weren’t such “fucking professionals.” Frenetic, darkly hilarious and surprisingly simple, this is in my opinion another win for A24 entertainment as they continue to produce quality films in every genre from horror to comedy and everything in between. (Moonlight won Best Picture which is A24. They’re having a good year. Just an FYI.)
Taking a short time to set up characters, it isn’t long before chaos sprays with bullets and riotous quips that elevate the most basic scenario from commonplace cinema to future classic territory. Set in a single location, it’s the colorful characters and the unceasing gunfire in the forefront that possess the allure of Free Fire.
With a great mix of unknowns and A-list actors, every character is fleshed out and just as ridiculous as the one beside them. Oscar winner Brie Larson is among them as the lone, but tougher than them all, woman who has no problem with the gentler side of her personality all the while pulling a pistol from her purse to shoot someone in the ass. She might say she’s just complicated, others might use words like psychotic but I suppose it’s all perspective. An underrated (in my opinion) actor and attempted counterpart to Larson’s charismatic heroine of automatic weaponry, Cillian Murphy plays the almost level-headed one in a group of unstable individuals whose instability is apparently contagious as Murphy’s character isn’t long for sane choices and logical outcomes. Basically as everyone else in this movie does, he loses his mind in a pile of guns, bullets, and lots of wonderfully timed profanity.
Another character that is as unforgettable as the actor playing him, Vernon, played by the amazing Sharlto Copley (If you haven’t seen District 9, for shame.) is a whiny, bitchy little man who mainly concerns himself with his suit not getting dirty and his greater concern of not catching a cold more than a stray bullet to the head. Despite extremely loud gunfire and the echoes that ensue in a such a large, abandoned warehouse, Vern can still be heard over all of it complaining about his bullet wounds, as if he’s the only one shot, his stupid makeshift cardboard armor and just a mass amount of random grumbling in a hard-to-place accent making him all the more frustrating for the other characters and even funnier for the audience.
A great aspect to filmmaking that isn’t always as present and noticed as it should be is sound and the various aspects of that department like design and mixing. As bullets ricochet from metal to concrete the pings and snaps of dangerous shrapnel fill the silence in a truly enveloping way. I believe the sound work in this film to be Oscar worthy. It’s genuinely a feature all its own as a film that relies so heavily on guns and the subsequent bang that is gun hammer to bullet casing would naturally and expectedly have. A surround sound will have you ducking and dodging your way to happiness. 🙂
Make no mistake, as funny and character driven as this film most certainly is, the violence is plentiful and graphic. People are murdered, severely wounded, set on fire, blown up and it’s all set to the classic tunes of Mr. “Sunshine on my Goddamn shoulders,” John Denver.
This is for those who can find the best in the simplest ideas and Free Fire is exactly as you might expect it to be only funnier. It doesn’t try to convey messages of gun control or anything remotely political. It’s two gangs making a gun deal and hell breaks loose in the best, most ridiculous ways. I had hopes for this one and it surpassed my expectations in a short, concise package of 90 minutes of mayhem.
Rated R For: strong violence, pervasive language, sexual references and drug use
Runtime: 90 minutes
After Credits Scene: No
Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller
Starring: Brie Larson, Sharlto Copley, Cillian Murphy, Armie Hammer, Jack Reynor
Directed By: Ben Wheatley
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 3.5/ Acting: 4/ Directing: 4.5/ Visuals: 4
OVERALL: 4.5 Nerdskulls
Buy to Own: Yes
Check out the trailer below:
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