Having missed its brief multiplex run I finally caught up with Free Fire, the latest from writer/director combo Amy Jump and Ben Wheatley, at my local arts centre. Definitely one of their more accessible films, it’s slick, violent, sweary and funny but one can’t help leaving with a certain much-ado-about-nothing taste in the mouth afterwards.
The film is almost entirely set in a disused factory warehouse in the 1970s, where a gang of IRA terrorists attempt to purchase guns from a South African arms dealer. Things begin to go south when one person in the arms dealer’s party recognises someone from the IRA party, against whom they have a rather large grudge. After that, the drama degenerates into a protracted shootout.
In many ways, this is simply the finale of Reservoir Dogs drawn out to feature length. However, the film is livened considerably by a darkly funny screenplay, and great performances from a talented cast. Brie Larson in particular is terrific, and she gets the best eye-roll in recent memory (if you see the film, you’ll know what I mean). Elsewhere there are strong roles for the likes of Cillian Murphy, Armie Hammer and Sharlto Copley, the latter of whom is I always find particularly good value in any movie.
Ultimately even if the film eventually feels rather monotonous, it does its thing and sees it through effectively, if pointlessly. Diverting but empty.