An aerial shot of a van cruising down a street. ROOK FILMS appears in huge font. Cut to the view inside the van. A few beats of small talk and we hear a loud honk and a louder FUCK. As if in a head on collision with the van and audience, the title card smashes onto the screen FREE FIRE.
Two minutes in and Free Fire has effectively given off its vibe with the subtlety of a sledgehammer. Genre film chameleon Ben Wheatley’s film chaotic and loud, lean and mean, with humor to match.
This film has a simple premise and one location. A group of lowlives gather at an abandoned warehouse to trade money for weapons. Past conflicts, ego and incompetence get in the way and naturally, things go wrong. In spite of its simple premise and solitary location, Wheatley’s film is loaded with moving parts and sharp dialogue that easily fills its lean running time. Each “mishap” spurs the conflicts further and each character is in no shortage of one-liners make to temporarily make light of the increasingly bleak situation.
Many will draw comparison to crime auteur Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs, and that’s okay. A comparison between the two only reveals the strength between each films. Violence is not only brutal, but humorous in the right parts. Characters are not to be hated, but they aren’t liked either. Lastly, the use of music is— *muah*. Multiple organ segues and callbacks brings to mind Italian genre films of the 70’s, perfectly complimenting the visuals ads well as cementing thefilm’s influential forefathers. Slow ballads and free jazz fill out the rest of the film’s soundtrack. As there are bound to be tracks unfitting to some, there are bound to be at least one musical cue that will tickle a viewer’s fancy.
A greater effort in coherence in genre and execution, Free Fire uses focus to its benefit and delivers a much-needed comeback from Wheatley’s previous forays. Fans of Tarantino, or crime flicks, in general, will be pleased with this creative exercise Murphy’s Law.
Director: Ben Wheatley
- Show Stealers: Mystery songster & Vernon
- A much needed sledgehammer to recent theater output.
- Top Wheatley film with along with Kill List