FREE FIRE (15)
SHOWCASE CINEMA DE LUX PETERBOROUGH, OUT NOW
CAST: ARMIE HAMMER, BRIE LARSON, SHARLTO COPLEY, CILLIAN MURPHY, SAM RILEY, JACK REYNOR, ENZO CILENTI, NOAH TAYLOR, MICHAEL SMILEY & PATRICK BERGIN
RUNNING TIME: 1 HR 31 MINS
DIRECTOR: BEN WHEATLEY
Ben Wheatley (Sightseers) is no stranger to single-location movies with the acclaimed filmmaker’s previous work seeing the drama unfold in a tower block, a field, and now in an abandoned warehouse in Boston (Massachusetts in America that is).
A couple of hours of staring at the same few walls could send an audience stir-crazy, while other times it works perfectly. Fortunately this time round it’s the latter.
In what feels like a modern day Reservoir Dogs, this gritty flick set in the Seventies tells the story of an arms deal that goes spectacularly and brutally wrong.
At the start, we see Justine (Room’s Oscar-winning Best Actress Brie Larson), who acts as a go-between for a pair of Irishmen, Frank (Michael Smiley from TV series Luther) and Chris (Batman Begins’ Cillian Murphy), and a pair of gun dealers, the eccentric Vernon (District 9’s Sharlto Copley) and the wisecracking stoner Ord (The Lone Ranger’s Armie Hammer), plus their respective gangs of henchmen.
Wheatley has proved himself time and time again to be skilled at slowly building up tension gradually – which is exactly what happens here.
Around thirty minutes into the exchange, a previous spat between two of the men flares up and before you know it, all hell breaks loose, and as you can imagine from a firearms deal, a lot of weapons are available – and nobody is afraid to use them. Bullets are literally flying everywhere!
Wheatley and co-writer, the brilliant Amy Jump, have produced a polished screenplay offering plenty of twists and turns – alongside witty one-liners, flamboyant characters and remarkable feats of cinematic gunplay.
What is essentially a ninety minute shoot-out that shouldn’t work, really does.
Free Fire may be a one-trick pony, but when that trick is this bold and entertaining it can be free to do whatever it wants.
Rating: 4/5 Mikey Clarke