Set in Boston in 1978, a weapons deal between the IRA and a local gun runner takes a turn for the worse and all hell breaks loose.  Cillian Murphy and Brie Larson are joined with an eclectic cast to provide the funniest action film of the year.

Director Ben Wheatley takes a cast to kill for and throws them into an abandoned factory, gives them guns, the wittiest script you’ll find around, and lets hell break loose.  I couldn’t have been happier sitting there during a two movie day and chuckling to myself through the 93 minute running time.  Any shorter and I’d have felt cheated, any longer and it would have been over done, this is Goldielocks and the Three Bears territory, so the third option of 93 minutes is just right.

The story is about two IRA men over in Boston in the late 70’s to buy guns for the cause, if you don’t know the cause was getting the British out of Ireland, and they have found a middle man and woman to broker the deal with the gun runners.  When two of the henchmen, one from each side, have a little bit of a fight, it all descends into chaos.  A huge gunfight that would make Tarantino blush starts leaving everyone fighting for their lives, it doesn’t help that one of the group has arranged a little bit of treachery and in the middle of chaos throws in a dash of anarchy to the proceedings.

I’m sitting here trying to remember why I’m deducting one point from the score, it’s a hard one, but something didn’t sit well with giving this insanely entertaining insanity a five out of five.  The cast all have great parts, well written, mostly funny, and Sharlto Copley stealing the show as the self obsessed gun runner Vernon.  Brie Larson delivers the killer line about Vernon by saying ‘He hasn’t gotten over being misdiagnosed as a child genius’ There are so many levels that I found that hugely funny.  

I think that honestly, and you know I’m honest to you all, as I’m in Ireland and you’re all on the internet and can’t find me, my problem is that there are one or two moments that leave you thinking that they could have tightened up that piece.  The never-ending clips, I don’t remember seeing many people reload a gun, and even if they did the fashions of the 70’s didn’t leave enough room for hiding spares.  Also the conflict that started the whole show going south would have easily been sorted if the two Irish were real freedom fighters from our country.  Anyone that have lived here through The Troubles know how they sort out that stuff.

These niggling little things took the one point off this film, but I’d go see this every day it’s on release and twice on a Sunday or Bank Holiday, as I have no life, so you should too.

This isn’t an overly done gun fight film, where the cool moves with the guns are the selling points, this is a natural gun fight scene after scene.  Injecting well-timed comedy into the action and making sure that you quickly like the characters means that every bullet that flies makes you invested in the outcome of that shot.  Free Fire is a little gem of a film that should be celebrated and sourced to support the film makers.  If films like this make more and more cash at the box office and home release services, that sounds very official, then we’ll get more films of this quality.  Get out and see this.

Director: Ben Wheatley
Writers: Amy Jump, Ben Wheatley
Stars: Enzo Cilenti, Sam Riley, Michael Smiley

See full cast & crew


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