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Free Fire (2017) Reviewed By Jay

United States, 20 January 2017


Jay´s Review

This actioner won the "Midnight Madness People's Choice" award at the Toronto International Film Festival. That should tip you off as to what to expect: 85 minutes of gunfire with absolutely NO socially redeeming values. Director Ben Wheatley ("High-Rise" and "Doctor Who") working from an R-rated script he has co-written with Amy Jump ("Kill List"), brings us high-caliber action delivered by actors experienced in the genre.


Two gangs in 1978 Boston meet in a warehouse. Their "deal" in which each side has planned to deceive the other, quickly escalates into one of the most brilliant examples of complex editing I have ever seen. Make no mistake, this is simply a prolonged gun battle, but the film editor always knows where each person is, the sight lines for each character, what injuries he/she has sustained so far, how many bullets remain in his/her particular gun, and what sort of injury would cause a person to bleed out in a given amount of time. The dialogue is witty, our screening audience laughed many times.


Here is part of the cast:


  • * Sharlto Copley ("The A-Team") is Vernon, long on plans, not so long on execution.
  • * Brie Larson ("Room") Justine will persist. She is no dummy.
  • * Babou Ceesay ("National Treasure") Martin looked like he bought the big one, very early on...
  • * Sam Riley ("Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" he is MrDarcyStevo always gets back up. I was surprised every time.
  • * Armie Hammer ("The Man from U.N.C.L.E.") Ord has 2 rules: Look good and never get flustered.
  • * Cillian Murphy ("In the Heart of the Sea") Chris can reason with the best of them. And he is fairly flexible in his loyalties.



When you think about it, they are mostly shooting pistols, and given the short barrels, pistols are notoriously inaccurate, so it's not too big a stretch to see how many times they miss. Plus they rarely pause long enough to aim. Though you would hardly expect it given the R-rating (gun violence, strong language and drug use), this non-stop thriller rarely confuses you, often surprises you, and you will actually leave the theater exhilarated and smiling, with the John Denver soundtrack lingering in your ears.


On the other hand, if you're not in the mood for 85 minutes of gunfire, don't give a rip about film editing and John Denver leaves you cold, this is definitely one you should skip!

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