Free Fire (Ben Wheatley, 2017)

What's it about? You know those scenes in films where a shady arms deal in a warehouse goes wrong? Ever wonder what a film would be like if the entire thing was about the ensuing shoot-out? Wonder no more.

Is it any good? It's a high concept film, set entirely in one location, but Wheatley and his excellent cast pull it off, delivering tense and often funny action as the two sets of protagonists let loose on each other. At the outset, we have the buyers on one side (cool Cillian Murphy, cynical Michael Smiley, shifty Sam Riley et al) and the sellers on the other (egotistical Sharlto Copley, smooth Armie Hammer, volatile Jack Reynor et al). In the middle is calculating Brie Larson, who has set up the deal. Naturally, things go tits up almost immediately and the rest of the film is an extended gunfight in which the shooters are realistically terrible at hitting their opponents, since they are variously wounded, cowering behind things, shouting at each other and shooting without looking. It's refreshing to see a film treat a gunfight as a chaotic mess, although the geography of the setting does get somewhat confusing toward the end. The black comedy is mined from the squabbling insults, although the dialogue is not quite a sharp as it could have been, meaning its gets a little too shouty-sweary by the end. Nonetheless, it's all good fun, the cast are clearly having a whale of a time in their natty 70s outfits and it gets extra marks for the use of John Denver's Annie's Song on the soundtrack in one memorable scene.

Anything else I should know? Most have assumed that Tarantino was the main influence here, but Wheatley instead points towards video-games such as Counter-Strike, and even mapped out a scaled set of the location in Minecraft prior to filming. Another inspiration was an detailed FBI report on a real-life shoot-out which featured similarly chaotic ballistics to that featured in the film. You can read an interview with him here about his reasons for making the film. And here's a video of Annie's Song, just because.

What does the Fonz think? You shoot up my senses

No comments:

Post a Comment