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Movie Review: Free Fire

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Free Fire is a new action comedy from director Ben Wheatley, starring Armie Hammer, Brie Larson, and Sharlto Copley. When I saw the trailer, I wasn’t sure of a movie about a gun fight in one location would be that appealing. I couldn’t be more happy to say that I was wrong. Free Fire is a blast from start to finish. It’s filled with a cast of colorful characters that turn a messy gun fight into a bit of gory slapstick. Although the film plays like a comedy, its definitely a dark comedy and not for the faint of heart.

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The story, set in Boston in the late 1970s, centers on a gun deal gone bad. On one side you have a pair of buyers from the IRA, Chris (Cillian Muphy) and Frank (Michael Smiley). They make the unfortunate decision to bring some local muscle in the form of Frank’s brother-in-law Steveo and his friend Bernie. On the other side is the idiosyncratic seller, Vernon (Sharlto Copely), his no-nonsense partner Martin (Babou Ceesay). Backing them up is their ex-mercenary body gaurd Ord (Armie Hammer) and a couple of goons in Gordon (Noah Taylor) and Harry (Jack Reynor). The whole sale is being orchestrated by Brie Larson’s Justine.

From left to right: Martin, Justine, Vernon, Gordon, and Harry
From left to right: Martin, Justine, Vernon, Gordon, and Harry

The tension is palpable right from the outset, as Chris and Vernon just don’t seem to get along. Then things get very tense when Vernon brings the wrong order to the sale. Finally, the powder keg blows up when its revealed that Harry and Steveo had an altercation the previous night regarding Steveo’s treatment of Harry’s female cousin.

From L to R: Ord, Bernie, Justine, Chris, Steveo, and Frank
From L to R: Ord, Bernie, Justine, Chris, Steveo, and Frank

What follows is a well paced and humorous stand off that sees many of the characters shot multiple times yet still willing to fight for a number of reasons, pride, money, or just plain anger. The shot design, direction, and acting are all top notch. My honorable mentions go out to the performances turned in by Armie Hammer as Ord and Sharlto Copely as Vernon. The costuming and set design were also tremendous and made the film that much more visually appealing.

If you have the means, and aren’t afraid of movies with a bit of bloodshed, I highly recommend checking out Free Fire.

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