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Non-Review Review: Free Fire

This film was seen as part of the Audi Dublin International Film Festival 2017.

Free Fire is probably best described as “Character Actor Death Match.”

Director Ben Wheatley draws together a fine collection of recognisable and veteran character actors for his single-location thriller. Free Fire has a cast including Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy, Jack Raynor, Sam Riley, Sharlto Copley and Wheatley fixture Michael Smiley. The premise is remarkably straightforward. In Boston, in 1978, a bunch of Irish Republicans set out to buy some guns from an unreliable South African arms dealer, with various other parties caught in the crossfire.

All fired up.

All fired up.

The weapons deal gradually breaks down, whether due to mistrust between the parties or personal animosity between individuals. The abandoned industrial warehouse chosen to host the deal quickly descends into anarchy, with characters drawn into a sprawling (and intentionally muddled) fire-fight in which many of the participants seem entirely unclear about what is happening and which group to which their allegiance lies. “Sorry!” one character apologises over a cheap shot at a supposed ally. “I forgot which side I was on!”

Free Fire is a fast-moving free-wheeling absurdist action comedy that leans heavily upon a fantastic cast and on the director’s mischievous sense of fun.

Shooting the Brie-ze.

Shooting the Brie-ze.

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