Saturday, 18 March 2017

'Free Fire' Review

Justine (Brie Larson) sets up a meeting in an old warehouse where two gangs intend to trade guns for thousands of dollars. When a brawl ensues between two of the gang members, the warehouse becomes a battlefield filled with gunfire as each side looks to survive.

Ben Wheatley first made his name as a short film maker and animator which allowed him to grow in the industry. Wheatley has gone from strength to strength, gaining opportunities such as directing episodes of 'Doctor Who' and adapting J.G Ballard's novel 'High Rise'. In his latest film 'Free Fire', Wheatley returns to an idea that suits the short film format perfectly. With 'Free Fire' coming in with a runtime of 90 minutes, Wheatley is at home with his newest, original idea making a fun, witty action movie in the process. 

Set solely in an old warehouse, two gangs look to trade weapons and if you've seen the trailer, you'll know that it goes south very quickly. The two gangs are separated with a group of Irish nationalists led by Cillian Murphy and Michael Smiley, and a ragtag group featuring Sharlto Copley and Armie Hammer. In a film where it is just a constant shootout in one location, you need characters who are interesting and in this case funny for the film to work at all. Sharlto Copley in particular, shines in this film, bringing great wit and humour to the film. If you know of Copley's previous work in films like 'District 9' and even the likes of 'Hardcore Henry', you'll know that he is a great character actor and will go all out in hi roles. There is no difference in 'Free Fire' as Copley steals the show yet again. The likes of Jack Reynor and Sam Riley provide great support as more humorous characters as Murphy, Smiley and Hammer are solid as usual. The characters are benefitted by the great script written by Wheatley and Amy Jump. The script is incredibly funny with all the characters bouncing off one another perfectly. The standard of comedy writing is very high as the dialogue and set pieces are all set up and executed very well. The jokes land and without a script like this, the film would fail completely as there isn't much more to the film.

What holds 'Free Fire' from being a great film and a total blast is within its action. At first, it is nonstop and highly enjoyable to watch as we establish the rest of the film. The problem is, there aren't many new things that happen with the action. There are a good 10-15 minutes where it is just random shooting with nothing happening. There is a lot of characters crawling and aimlessly shooting throughout the film which becomes very repetitive very quickly. Sometimes it is moved to a slightly different location but for the most part, it is the same action throughout the whole film. Although the film is only 90 minutes long, there isn't enough action to fill that short a period. Once you've seen the same thing happen the first three times, you start becoming fed up with it. As the film draws nearer to the end, there is more creativity but it is too little too late. Thankfully for the film, as we previously mentioned, the humour keeps it entertaining despite problems with repetition.

As far as the technical side of the film goes, everything is up to a high standard. The sound design for one is great as the constant shooting, clashing of bullets and use of weapons is very good, providing a realistic feeling as well. The action is filmed well with a wide range of shots to make sure that you can see exactly what is going on at all times. Wheatley shows his talents as a director very well here as although it is a small film, everything is still done to the highest standard.

'Free Fire' is undoubtedly a fun movie as its comedy and characters are truly brilliant. Sharlto Copley's performance alone makes this film worth watching but you shouldn't expect an abundance of action set pieces in this film. 'Free Fire' is a fun watch that you can just switch your brain off and watch.

Final Verdict = 

So have you seen 'Free Fire'? If so, what did you think of the film? I hope that this review was useful for if you were planning on seeing the movie or not. Once again, thank you for taking the time to read my review, it is much appreciated!

By Angus McGregor