Ben Wheatley’s last film, ‘High-Rise’ was full of social commentary and offered much food for thought on particular issues. Whilst film can be a perfect media for discussing important problems with the world we live in sometimes the most effective stories are the simple ones. With the director touring his new film, ‘Free Fire’ around the UK many reports suggested that simplicity was the name of the game for his latest movie, something I was very happy to hear.
The film starts well introducing us to several different characters who each have some fantastic dialogue. You’ll be sure to recognise someone from the cast as it’s full of incredible talent. Fellow Northern Irish man, Michael Smiley was the standout performer for me. He has some quality lines and he delivers them wonderfully. He has great chemistry with Armie Hammer who might just be the best I’ve ever seen him here. As you’d expect Sharlto Copley’s character is larger than life and Copley has the performance to match it. The rest of the cast including Cillian Murphy, Jack Reynor & Brie Larson all perform well making the ensemble cast a joy to watch in action.
Simplicity is definitely employed in the narrative here, arms deal gone south just about sums the whole story up in one. The film stays in the one location for the entirety of the run time and as the title suggests is mainly made up of shoot outs between the characters. The action itself is filmed well and by the end of the movie there has been a good level of creativity shown. However, after about ten minutes of bullets flying left, right and centre I did begin to find things a little monotonous. In between the action there is segments of dialogue which often act as comic relief from the action but the film needed more of this to avoid becoming relentless. Quentin Tarantino is the master of balancing action and dialogue and much could be learnt from his style here. Wheatley has written funny & engaging dialogue it’s just a shame that he includes too much action meaning I was always left craving a cease fire in order to hear more of the impressive character interaction that was showcased in the opening scenes.
With more of the action set to music, extra locations or further dialogue interwoven into all the gun slinging ‘Free Fire’ could have been something much more. Despite this, I know that what has been created here will be more than enough for many film fans. The ensemble cast are tremendous with potential for every member to be a possible favourite. Wheatley has taken a step up from his last film with ‘Free Fire’ but maybe things were just a little too simple for me to fully engage with it.
Rating – 6/10
Question: Who was your favourite character and why?
(Leave your answers in the comments section below!)
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