I’m a huge sucker for films that mainly take place in one room. Ones like The Breakfast Club and The Hateful Eight, where a bunch of characters are basically forced into each other’s company and we get to watch them bounce off each other.
Free Fire, director Ben Wheatley’s latest, is another great example of this sort of film. The premise is simple: a gun deal between a group of IRA members and a professional gun merchant is taking place in an abandoned warehouse. An argument breaks out between some of the members from each side and the meeting quickly devolves into violence. As everyone takes cover, a drawn-out shoot-out takes place… Betrayals take place and allegiances shift as everybody desperately tries to get out of the warehouse alive.
In short, this is an incredibly fun film. Going into it, I wondered whether they’d really be able to stretch out a single gunfight for 90 minutes without things getting dull… And somehow they do. It’s mainly due to the fact that the film has a number of fantastic characters played by a number of great actors. Armie Hammer plays a smug, quipping representative of the arms dealer, Sam Riley a friend of the IRA members who happens to be unpredictable junkie, Sharlto Copley the offbeat and hilarious arms dealer… Brie Larson is the biggest name here by far, though to be honest it’s the smaller-name actors that steal the show. The film has a pretty packed cast and just about everyone gets a great moment or two. Watching them bounce off each other and form vendettas against each other is just a lot of fun.
Talking too much about the characters and where the plot goes would spoil things, so just trust me when I say it’s good. Wheatley does a great job of juggling the film’s many moving parts and everything builds to a really satisfying conclusion. It’s one of those films where part of the fun comes from guessing who’s going to make it out alive. In that respect, it’s kinda similar to the last film I reviewed, Kong: Skull Island. However, I’d say that Free Fire is better. Not only is it smarter, but it manages to achieve just as many big moments with a significantly smaller budget.
A slight turn off for some people when it comes to this film could be that it can gets kinda over the top at times. The characters veer towards cartoony at times, and so it’s hard to take them too seriously. If you’re looking for a deep, artsy film, this one isn’t it – go see Moonlight or something – but I’m pretty certain that you’ll have a lot of fun watching Free Fire. Highly recommended.