Review: Razor sharp script makes Free Fire one of the best films so far this year

Free Fire, which is showing at Saffron Screen at 8pm on Friday, May 12

Free Fire, which is showing at Saffron Screen at 8pm on Friday, May 12 - Credit: Archant

Following last year’s divisive High Rise, eclectic British director Ben Wheatley returns with Free Fire – a 70s set tale about a gun deal which goes badly wrong.

Cillian Murphy plays Chris – the leader of an Irish gang looking to purchase a shipment of weapons from a South African gun runner and his associates.

As the tense exchange begins in an abandoned warehouse, it becomes apparent that two gang members are holding on to an unsettled grudge, which proves to be the catalyst for things to break down and for a lengthy shoot out to begin.

Wheatley resists the urge to break out of this setting to include Hollywood car chases and keeps the film solely focused on the confines of the warehouse. A brave move which he pulls off with aplomb.

The movie zips along at a pace with some snappy dialogue and witty one liners which keep things enthralling throughout.


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Every character is given ample time in the spotlight and allowed to shine, from Armie Hammer’s super cool Ord to Brie Larson’s confident Justine, but it is Sharlto Copley’s South African Vern who steals the show and is at the centre of the film’s funniest moments.

The gun battle is much grittier than the usual Hollywood fare and you get the feeling this is closer to how a real life gun fight would play out.

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Bullets fly, nobody can shoot straight and guns jam up when needed.

Wheatley went to great lengths to keep tabs on the movement of his characters, and apparently went as far as building a scale replica of the set on video game Mindcraft.

The result is a well crafted and thoroughly entertaining movie.

The pace is judged to perfection and coupled the razor sharp script makes this one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had in the cinema this year.

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