Ben Wheatley is certainly the best British director we have. He subverts genres, he produces stellar work, and he is consistent as fuck. Whether he is adapting from a cult classic novel or chasing the creation of two comedians, Wheatley knows his style and his narrative to create thriller or dark comedy that is truly magnificent.
I think I introduce his movies like this quite a lot, even as recently as this year with the complex and twisting thriller High-Rise. I may be a Wheatley fan but there is no denying his absolute greatness within the film industry and how that has developed.
Closing the BFI London Film Festival, Free Fire is a solid comedy crime romp to see off the festival with a bang…or hundreds.
Free Fire has a simple premise but that doesn’t make it any less of an entertaining caper. The film sees two gangs and a multitude of criminals meet at an abandoned factory in New York for an arms deal. Though tensions mount, the exchange is a seemingly smooth one until two heavies from opposing teams collide over a previous issue. This sets off a chain of events and a sequence of bullets launching at one another. Who will survive the shootout?
The whole idea that this is two gangs are firing bullets at one another until someone leaves alive and with the cash. Imagine that being stretched over ninety minutes and you’d scoff. But Ben Wheatley and Amy Jump’s insatiable script and we’ll executed movie keeps you invested in the hilarity and the action as copious amounts of bullets fire across the screen.
The seventies garb and cool hues of brown and orange drench the screen in an wrap based aesthetic as the dialogue speeds alongside the metallic balls whipping you into a frenzy. It’s the smart execution of the film that keeps you captivated until the last bitter moments. Not only that but Wheatley and Jump bring forth a multitude of nefarious characters – each unique and brooding with their own brand of bonkers. Different levels of criminal muster for survival and dominance whilst dealing with their wounds and flickering life and it is bloody hilarious too. Caught in that Wheatley brand of dark comedy, Free Fire is his sharpest and wittiest film yet.
With a superb cast at the helm, Free Fire is delicious and delectable with with every cast member getting a slice of pie. Old talented hands such as Michael Smiley, Cillian Murphy, Sam Riley, Armie Hammer, and recent Academy Award winner Brie Larson all spar within the tirade glorioisly while newcomer Jack Reynor crafts another wonderful step in his career. As unique and grand as these characters are, Sharlto Copley’s flashy South African arms dealer Vern steals the show. The minute he enters, you expect him to annoy you but eventually you warm to his delivery and
The film may have a bit of a predictable ending, the fast and furious Free Fire catapults throughout its 90 minutes ferociously with fun-fuelled frivolity and franticness.
Free Fire closes the BFI London Film Festival.
It is out in cinemas March 2017