When I first started making little movies of my own, all I wanted to do was stage ridiculous, silly shootouts. The joyous, boyish, oh-well-fuck-it-then energy of "Free Fire" had me thinking fondly of my teens, equipped with a camcorder, After Effects, air-compressed squibs and plenty of air-soft guns. The characters are huge, the dialogue is snappy, and at a taut, fat-free 91 minutes, it makes the most of its set-up.
A sort-of original mash-up of wholly unoriginal elements. Points for the all-star cast, the offbeat tone, and the John Denver. Points removed for somehow creating a confusing geography in a single room, and the predictability of everything. Plays out like Quentin Tarantino directed the sniper standoff in Enemy At The Gates. Ben Wheatley is always interesting, but could've done better.
Wheatly, one of those filmmakers whose ideas I usually like but who often seem to underwhelm. A shootout movie set in a single location should have a better command of camera to avoid the "wait! who's that? what happened?!" moments. But the thing I feel the most sorry for is the lack of the comedic bite, the black variety of course. It seems to teeter on wanting to be as absurd and black but fails to succeed.
a soft 3 for me. once the bullets start firing it held my attention and there were a couple standout moments but for what it is, it could've been more fun. that said Sharlto Copley definitely the standout for me. I keep giving Ben Wheatley's films a chance but I'm always kinda ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
In a behind the scenes featurette, the cast talks about how the director had a diagram made up to keep track of all the characters; maybe the director should've studied that diagram, 'cause it's impossible to get a handle on who's firing at whom & where they are in relation to each other! A confusing clusterfuck! One can argue that that's the point - I argue that the director didn't know what the fuck he was doing!
None of Ben Wheatley's film that I've watched have been completely satisfying but they always end up being quite fascinating. Free Fire has one of the most outrageously stupid shoot outs in the history of cinema and that might make it the best one yet. Some great and not so great actors are having an absolute blast (specially the Armie Hammer for some reason) and it was quite a lot of fun, but it lacked some meat.
Despite a stellar cast and a great director this fell unbelievably short condisering the talent involved. After a quite amusing first reel the movie really comes to a standstill as soon as the shooting starts. You don't really feel any sympathy for any of the characters and after a while you stop caring all together. Sure, there are flashes of inspiration and some cool sequences but they are too few and far between.