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Review: Free Fire

April 21, 2017

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

Playing like an extended and impressively choreographed shootout that unfolds pretty much in real time, Free Fire could be accused of delivering style over substance, but it’s hard to really care when the style is this polished and well presented.

Taking place in 1978, the film follows Justine (Brie Larson), who is organizing a weapons sale between the IRA’s Chris (Cillian Murphy) and Frank (Michael Smiley), and gun dealers Ord (Armie Hammer) and Vernon (Sharlto Copley).

They are selling a shipment of automatic rifles in an abandoned Boston warehouse, but when physical fights start to break out between the men, things quickly escalate into an increasingly bloody and relentless shootout.

Although Free Fire doesn’t have a ton in terms of plot, aside from some question of where allegiances lie, this is a well executed action thriller that gets the job done with style to spare.  Directed by Ben Wheatley, and executive produced by Martin Scorsese, the film is carried by a screenplay chock full of quippy one-liners, and has a fun ’70s vibe conveyed through the bad hair and pale coloured suits.  The whole thing moves fast at ninety minutes, with nary a dull moment.

It’s all delivered by a game ensemble cast, including standout work from Brie Larson, a great supporting role for an almost unrecognizable Jack Reynor, and memorable turns from Armie Hammer and Sharlto Copley.  Altogether, Free Fire is a lean and entertaining action thriller, that delivers ample suspense, some thrilling set-pieces and a pretty killer soundtrack.  It’s grisly fun, and the unexpected but oddly fitting use of John Denver is inspired.

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