Director Ben Wheatley
Screenplay Amy Jump, Ben Wheatley
Starring Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Armie Hammer, Sharlto Copely, Jack Reynor, Babou Ceesay, Enzo Cilenti, Sam Riley, Michael Smiley, Noah Taylor

So much shooting. As many missed shots as a episode of The A-Team. Free Fire is the whimsical tale of a 1978 arms deal with the IRA outside of Boston. The action is presaged with a tale by a junkie where he had been assaulted by the cousin of a woman he assaulted. Before we have time to wonder, the guy who assaulted him shows up on the other side of the deal.

If jokes about sexual assault or the Irish Republican Army in the middle of an hour long firefiight appeal to you, then this might be just the recipe for a successful couple of hours.

The acting talent is without question. It’s the reason I bought in. Hard to call any of what is happening here acting, however. The alliances are almost indistinguishable from the moment the lead starts flying. The jokes and bullets only hit when it’s time to make a plot development.

As a reader of Empire Magazine and weekly listener to their podcast, there has been no end to the praise heaped on Wheatley. I had not watched his films until now. Granted this is not High Rise in terms of reputation, but thought it should be better than this.

There are a few nice sequences in the back and forth. Some comaraderie and discussion on who’s buying the next round of beer. The film feels like the frame of the umbrella with no fabric remaining in the midst of the sprinkler system designed to keep the flames down. It’s got the frame of a story, but nothing but a hail of nonsense the viewer can’t escape from.

(** out of *****)

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