FREE FIRE – Film Review

From director Ben Wheatley comes Free Fire, a new film starring an all-star cast including Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, and Cillian Murphy. But can the film manage to be as strong as its cast?

A group of arms dealers meet together at an abandoned warehouse when, after arguments begin to happen, an extremely massive gun fight breaks out amongst the entire group. It is a big game of survival to see who can survive the entire night.

Before watching the film, I was really excited to see Free Fire as it boasted an extremely great cast of really talented actors, as aforementioned. Larson is one of my favorite actresses in recent memory, as she starred in one of my favorite films of 2015 – Room. Her performance in that film was so real and raw, and I was excited to see what she could do with Free Fire which is a considerably different film than Room in virtually every way. Unfortunately, this film was not all that good or memorable.

Brie Larson (left) as Justine and Sharlto Copley (right) as Vernon in Free Fire (2016)

The film is meant to be slapstick and silly most of the time, but, at the center of it all, the film is silly in an unintentional way. The entire reason why the fight breaks out is because of some history two of the main characters have with one another, and it was one of the most ridiculously absurd things I have seen in a film in such a long time.

We also never get any time for breathing room in Free Fire. The entire film is non-stop gun firing, which makes it impossible for the film to develop its characters and make us care for them. I never once cared about a single character in the film at all. In a film where anybody could die at any second, you should be extremely anxious as to who could possibly die next, but with Free Fire, you really do not care as our characters feel more like game pieces than actual characters in a film.

The film can be entertaining at times, especially with such a small budget, but all Free Fire is, is just mindless entertainment. I wanted to root for characters, and have a great story incorporated, but we just never get that in the entire film.

Brie Larson as Justine in Free Fire (2016)

It also never ulitizes its amazing cast of actors to the best of their ability. Another great actor in the film is Jack Reynor who portrays Harry in this film. If you have not yet seen 2016’s Sing Street, I highly recommend that you do. Reynor is absolutely brilliant in that film, whereas in Free Fire, his character Harry just takes a backseat, unfortunately.

There can be some humorous moments in the film, particularly from Larson, who often says witty one-liners on the spot. Also, the film can be entertaining at times, but that’s about all you can get from watching Free Fire. If you were looking for a film with lots of substance like myself, you will be highly disappointed with this picture.

Free Fire criminally under utilizes its all-star cast, and lacks any character development whatsoever, and ends up being nothing more than mindless entertainment.

Overall Grade: C

MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence, pervasive language, sexual references and drug use

Cast: Sharlto Copley, Armie Hammer, Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy

Directed by: Ben Wheatley

Distributed by: StudioCanal UK

Running Time: 90 minutes

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