Free Fire (2016) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier

FREE FIRE

Director: Ben Wheatley
Writers: Amy Jump (screenplay by), Ben Wheatley (screenplay by)
Stars: Sharlto Copley, Brie Larson, Armie Hammer

Plot:  Set in Boston in 1978, a meeting in a deserted warehouse between two gangs turns into a shootout and a game of survival.

Running Time: 91 minutes
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics 67%    Audience 54%
Why I watched it: Mostly the cast.

Thoughts: Ben Wheatley is a different director he bounces from genre to genre and a lot of the times his stuff is a tad pretentious but here he goes for a straight crime shoot’em’up.

What I liked: The set up is good, they do a nice job of giving us a glimpse of each character and then set the plot in motion.

This is a very good cast for this type of film my two favourites were Sharlto Copley who’s way over the top but his timing is so good you have to laugh at him, he fleshes out a stock character by making him weird and humorous. I also liked Armie Hammer, with a full beard and not playing his stock pretty boy, he’s very entertaining and I think gave the best performance.  Some of his asides are very fun and break up the non stop shooting and swearing, he’s actually trying to think his way through this.

I’ll give them credit this is basically one set and this is about a 40-50 minutes shoot out, they do ring tension and humour out of the situation.

What I didn’t like: I’ll be honest when I read the plot description I didn’t realise this was set in Boston and really there was no reason to have it set in 1978 except for the fact they wanted no cell phones maybe.

I really think they wasted Cillian Murphy here, he’s a very good actor and one of my personal favourites and really he has nothing to do and his character is one note and I’ll be honest I didn’t learn a thing about him, very bland character.  Brie Larson didn’t work in this at all, and actually she stands out like a sore thumb and not because she was the only women but she seem to be in a different movie, she’s cold and detached and that’s hard to be when bullets are flying everywhere.  Her character is even more bland than Murphy’s, her only thing is that she’s a women, nothing else.  She didn’t add or bring anything to the character she reacted that’s it.

Even though the film is 91 minutes, it drags and really by the 70 minute mark I stopped caring,  they didn’t throw anything new to spice up the end, this was just one big fire fight in an old factory that’s it and it did have some style but it ran out of steam and also we weren’t routing for anyone.  I didn’t care you lived or died and to that point I really didn’t care for the ending.

Final Thoughts: Decent short film idea stretched to feature film length.  It was directed well and had some good performances but mainly forgettable.

Rating: 5/10

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