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Free Fire  (DVD)


Stars: Sharlto Copley, Armie Hammer, Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Jack Reynor, Babou Ceesay, Enzo Cilenti, Sam Riley, Michael Smiley, Noah Taylor, Tom Davis, Mark Monero, Patrick Bergin.

Director: Ben Wheatley

Does Free Fire really confirm Wheatley as a heralded British auteur? Not for my money, after seeing such movies as A Field in England and his pretentious version of J G Ballard’s High-Rise.

Wheatley and Amy Jump’s screenplay, set in 1970s' Massachusetts, finds Irish hoodlums and their ruffians and a gang led by a South African hood arriving in a dusty warehouse in 1970’s Massachusetts to buy illegal guns from gangsters. The derivative action and noisy gunplay that follows after the villains fall out and engage in a more and more tedious shootout rapidly becomes increasingly irritating since the narrative simply segues into a tsunami of bullets and bad language.

Wheatley deserves some credit for persuading Hollywood players like Brie Larson and Armie Hammer to come to England to make this film. To give the cast their due, they all work relatively hard to duck the bullets and deliver their clichéd lines as best they can.

But only Sharlito Copley emerges with a performance he can mention (ruefully?) in mixed company.

Alan Frank

France/UK 2016. UK Distributor: StudioCanal. Colour.
87 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 2, Swearing 3.

Review date: 07 Aug 2017