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[Movie Review] Free Fire (2017)

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Plot Summary: Set in Boston in 1978, a meeting in a deserted warehouse between two gangs turns into a shootout and a game of survival.

Director: Ben Wheatley

Writers: Amy Jump, Ben Wheatley

Runtime: 1h 30min

Main Cast:

  • Enzo Cilenti as Bernie
  • Sam Riley as Stevo
  • Michael Smiley as Frank
  • Brie Larson as Justine
  • Cilian Murphy as Chris
  • Armie Hammer as Ord
  • Sharlto Copley as Vernon

Review: by Chris

Some shady characters meet in an abandoned warehouse for a large scale illegal weapons deal. Things go wrong, guns are fired, people get shot, and people get betrayed. That is the plot...all of it...and it serves this movie way better than expected. With some clever action choreography and its characters all being unique, this movie stands up as an entertaining piece of action cinema.

Though the plot is thin, there’s a surprising amount of depth in this film, it’s not a complicated story by any means, but character interactions hint at some well thought out relationships between them. Those relationships are vital to how and why these characters react in the way they do once the action starts. Its done without heavy exposition, but through small bits of dialogue hinting at motivations that get confirmed with nice payoffs as the film goes on. Through these interactions, we get some great moments with the cast, some funny, some actually touching.

What I Liked:

The cast and the characters their inhabit steal the show, while everyone does their part with how little they are given, there are some phenomenal standouts. First is a big surprise personally, though always having that WASPY look, Armie Hammer has never impressed me on screen. He seemed to be an empty actor with a strong jawline and thats about it, but man does he bring his A-game here. As Ord, the mysterious American, he knocks it out of the park bringing mysterious charisma to what could’ve been a boring, 1 note role. He owns many of the best lines in the movie and is always a bright spot whenever he’s on screen. Sharlto Copley is the other standout, and per usual he doesn’t disappoint. He plays shady South African gun dealer Vernon and man does this guy ooooze personality. Everything about this character is just spot on and Copley revels in the sleaze. From the corny pastel suit to the terribly awesome mustache, Copley makes Vernon a character you won’t forget up until his last scene.

For a film that’s all about a giant gun fight, pacing is very important. Poor pacing would make everything feel redundant and stale, especially one with so few unique locations. Fortunately, the pacing in this film is top notch and is vital for everything working the way it does. At a brisk 90 minutes (crazy refreshing) the movie works hard not wearing out its welcome.  Before things go bad, we are introduced to several characters and their personalities, and through these unique quirks, small disagreements act as foreshadowing to later conflicts. When everything does go bad, things move at a nice speed and adds enough elements to keep everything fresh.

Excellent dialogue and actors having fun makes everything feel good in a movie as violent and profane as this one. Characters laugh at others being shot, tease and mock each other, throw rocks, try to bribe their way out, and generally act like terrible people in a bad situation. There’s no one to really root for, no “bad” guy to root against, but I am sure audiences will pick and choose people they want to see survive.It’ss very much a fly on the wall type movie where what you see is what you get, minus a very late movie twist, everything is and should be taken at face value…characters are who they say they are and don’t stray away from that.

What I Didn’t Like:

I struggle to find something in this movie I didnt like, something that just didnt work in the movie, anything that I can harp on…but i can’t do it. Everything this movie attempted to do, it succeeded with flying colors. Its simple, its funny, its well shot. Maybe more time with certain characters would’ve helped, but by the end everyone had a stand out moment. Even the ending worked better than expected considering how common it was.


Images Courtesy of IMDB

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