Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, and Cillian Murphy star in the hotly anticipated new film by Ben Wheatley (Kill List, High-Rise), about a weapons deal gone wrong that escalates into a manic, bullet-riddled standoff inside an abandoned warehouse.
It's 1978, and Justine (Brie Larson, who won the Best Actress Oscar for last year's Festival hit Room) has brokered a gun deal in an abandoned warehouse between IRA men Chris (Cillian Murphy) and Frank (Wheatley regular Michael Smiley), and gun dealers Vernon (Sharlto Copley) and cool-as-a-cuke Ord (Armie Hammer, also appearing at this year's Festival in The Birth of A Nation and Nocturnal Animals). The tension is thicker than the Irish brogues. But everything seems to be going smoothly — until shots are fired during the handover and pandemonium ensues, the warehouse erupting in a barrage of gunfire worthy of John Woo. The explosive and chaotic battle escalates to a manic standoff, a bloody game of survival where everyone left alive is either trying to escape with a bag of money, or make sure that nobody else does.
Tight action choreography and an even tighter script by Wheatley and his filmmaking partner Amy Jump make the compact war zone of Free Fire crackle with heart-stopping action and offbeat humour, the witty banter ricocheting as furiously as the bullets. While Copley's comedic chops are especially well used, and Hammer reveals a refreshingly funny side, the entire ensemble (which also includes Noah Taylor, Jack Reynor, and Sam Riley as a bumbling junkie) shines, displaying sharp comic timing and giving intensely physical performances. From the tensely atmospheric opening shots, it is obvious that Free Fire is another stunner from one of today's greatest genre filmmakers.