Free Fire - Review

Free Fire is an ambitious film that has been floating around for a little while now. It finally got a wide(r) release in theaters this weekend so I could go see it. Hit the jump to read my review.

I saw the trailer for this and thought: "The whole movie is banter and gun fights? I'm sold!" So when I sat down to see it, that is what I was expecting; and for the most part, that is exactly what I got. The trailers gave me a Reservoir Dogs type vibe and it had many similarities. However, it fell short in some areas too.

While no one will compare to Quentin Tarantino, Ben Wheatley directed this film masterfully. The camera barely ever stops moving, and sometimes you don't know what part of the warehouse you are in. (The entire gunfight, which is about 95% of the movie takes place in a single location.) But the direction is appropriate, as it mirrors the manic energy of the film and aptly portrays the panic the characters are feeling. I was happy to see that, because anyone who was involved in any way with Doctor Who, I want to see succeed. (Wheatley directed the first two episodes of Season 8.)

Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, Sharlto Copley and Cillian Murphy all give great performances. Hammer in particular stood out to me, and I was very surprised to find him as one of my favorite characters in the movie. Even the lesser known actors are all great, and every single one of the men have exceptional 70's facial hair.

There is a point in the movie where you sort of forget who is on whose team, and who is trying to kill whom. When you have a 90 minute movie and 70 of those minutes are a single gun fight, it is hard to portray character development. Wheatley manages to get enough in there, so that you are rooting for certain people to triumph over others, but it's not enough to know exactly where the lines are drawn and why.

All of the characters are extremely lousy shots - except for when they aren't. It isn't the first time we have seen this, and certainly won't be the last. The first part of the shoot out, they all seemed like they were competing to see who could be the best Imperial Stormtrooper. But certain characters were able to get certain shots off when they counted. I get it, but it doesn't mean I have to like it.

Overall it is a fun movie, and if seen properly on the big screen, the sound of the bullets and the camera angles really make you feel like you are right in the mix, something that might be missed while viewing at home. But if home is your only option, still make an effort to see the movie. It's a fun popcorn flick when not taken seriously. It might be a little too ambitious, but that is better than lazy. I am excited to see what Wheatley does next.


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