Out Now On-Demand
A gun trade goes hilariously wrong in this ‘70s-set, one-room, guns-a-blazing comedy from director Ben Wheatley (High-Rise).
Massachusetts, late '70s. Justine (Oscar-winner Brie Larson) has brokered a meeting in a deserted warehouse between two Irishmen (Cillian Murphy, Michael Smiley) and a gang led by Vernon (Sharlto Copley) and Ord (Armie Hammer) who are selling them a stash of guns. But when shots are fired in the handover, a heart stopping game of survival ensues. Produced by our lord and saviour Martin Scorsese.
- Ben Wheatley('High-Rise', 'Sightseers', 'Kill List')
- Martin Scorsese('Taxi Driver', 'Goodfellas', 'The Wolf of Wall Street', 'Silence')
Los Angeles Times
New York Times
Total Film (UK)
Sydney Morning Herald
No kiss kiss, all bang bang
A dozen outlaw and hustler-types, of differing backgrounds and styles, converge in an abandoned warehouse for a major arms deal. It goes so well that they're soon swept into a prolonged, close-quarters shoot-out, a maelstrom from which it's unlikely anyone will walk away in one piece. Much of the cast - who bring some real acting-game in ways you won't expect - spend half of their screen-time crawling around on the floor, either for cover, or because they're so full of holes they can't walk. There's also at least one moment where, trapped and bleeding behind their various hiding spots just spitting distance from one another, the characters must take stock to remember exactly who's shooting at who and why. Oh, it's Boston in the 1970s too, so everyone looks funny.
This is definitely intended as a pulpy B-pic for the cheering punters, but if you pay close attention to the structuring, choreography, and editing you'll realize there's some serious filmic craft at work here. Free Fire makes six rather nifty little movies in a row for husband-wife duo Ben Wheatley (who directs) and Amy Jump (who writes and edits with him). They specialize in artful, sometimes subversive, but never-pretentious genre riffs: here it's a One Room Action movie. They precisely draw out their "single" action scene into a miniature-epic so absurdly violent and cynically amoral that it's often scary and funny for the very same reasons. It's sort of like Sam Peckinpah played for horror-comedy, carefully balanced between visceral authenticity and cartoonish exaggeration, and it's quite a blast. I laughed, gasped, and squirmed the whole way through.