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Free Fire (2017): A Review

Sometimes the best movies can come from the simplest of ideas.

Free Fire is one such movie.

It’s a late night in the 1970’s. Two IRA members, Chris (Cillian Murphy) and Frank (Michael Smiley) are looking to buy guns. They have two helpers, Stevo (Sam Riley) and Bernie (Enzo Cilenti). The deal is being worked through an intermediary – Ord (Armie Hammer), who was connected to the IRA members by Justine (Brie Larson).

The salesman? A quirky South African, Vernon (Sharlto Copley), accompanied by his ex-Black Panther assistant Martin (Babou Ceesay), and their associates Harry (Jack Reynor) and Gordon (Noah Taylor).

The guns aren’t exactly what the Irishmen asked for.

The money is high.

The tension is high.

And like so, a 90 minute standoff begins.

Director Ben Wheatley (High Rise) has put together an awesome, ultra violent pot boiler here, combining wonderfully shot action with an absolute murderer’s row of character actors.

Every character gets a great moment to shine, and the violence, while brutal, remains silly and almost slap-sticky. Sort of Tarantino’s Looney Tunes here, or a version of The Hateful Eight if it skipped to the violence and was set in the 1970’s. To share more would be to head into spoiler territory, so I’m keeping my review, like the movie, appropriately space.

There’s not a lot of substance to the movie – it does what it says on the tin – but what is there is incredibly enjoyable and will ensure that Free Fire is a cult classic for sometime to come. Hopefully, this replaces The Boondocks Saints on the “freshman year of college” movie shelf, as it has such wonderful accessibility and hilarious moments. Very much recommended.

Free Fire is in theaters now.