Believe it or not, sometimes movies catch me completely off guard. I had heard that Free Fire was a closed box movie and that was about it. But that one single fact was enough to make me go watch it. I adore closed box movies because they are required to be way more dialogue and screenplay driven. Which basically means, the director and the writer (which happens to be the same guy in this case – Ben Wheatley (And don’t forget his wife Amy Jump who helped co-write the screenplay dangit) had to have this whole thing dialed in tightly before he even got close to a single (the single?) set. Which means that it boded well for my liking it. But I’ll do you one better. Ben and Amy not only scripted a closed box movies that resided in a single warehouse in Boston in the 70’s, but it also includes an almost 70 minute shoot out to boot. Somewhere around the 20 minute mark? 25? I didn’t check my watch. The bullets start flying and they don’t stop until the end. So let me recap. This movie is about two groups of people arranging a gun sale in a warehouse. It’s the 70’s. And holy cow does this thing spiral completely and totally out of control. Regardless, let’s do this – Closed Box Movie Recommendation Free Fire. Here… watch the trailer.
Free Fire’s Stacked Acting Deck
Oh? Did I not mention that Brie Larson (Room & Kong: Skull Island), Armie Hammer (Social Network, Nocturnal Animals), Sharlto Copley (D9, Elysium), Cillian Murphy (Peaky Blinders, Inception) were all in the film? So you can be certain that the acting is top notch. I was particularly excited personally about Sharlto Copley (District 9 is one of my all time favorite Sci-Fi films) and Cillian Murphy (only way this goes better for us is if Tom Hardy also joined Cillian) who are just top notch, full-tilt actors.
Free Fire Screenplay and Writing
Ben Wheatley and his wife Amy Jump work together. Ben is the face of this relationship. Amy prefers to get in and get out. To create the vision and to leave the interviews to Ben. Which Ben acknowledges means that he gets more credit than he deserves. But regardless, this movie was so different, and so tightly compacted, that Ben decided to block out the movie in Minecraft of all places first. I kid you not. Minecraft! hahah. The logistics of holding this film together would be a feat, but better yet? Keeping the reveals coming and the ever-deepening understanding of these characters and this situation so that it continues to hold our attention for 100 minutes. Which Wheatley and Jump do very well. But apparently the writing work for Free Fire was a very fluid experience, “As we saw performances, for instance, Noah Taylor’s performance, we’d say, ‘God, we really love Noah Taylor, he doesn’t have enough lines in this film,’ so then we would develop it as we were shooting,” Wheatley said in an interview with Variety.
Free Fire Overview
The movie is set upon an assumption that is about as easy to understand as they come. It’s an arms deal gone bad. But you mix into this simple story a whole host of competing and jockeying characters and we have something of an interesting pastiche in the style of Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs. Our downward spiral begins with Stevo and Bernie who are driving over to a Boston Warehouse from a group of IRA members. Our Irish Republican Army associates are Chris (Cillian) and Frank who are desperate to get their hands on 30 M-16s. We also have two middlemen, Justine (Brie Larson) and Ord (Armie Hammer), that are doing their very best to close this deal. And the team trying to sell the guns is lead by Vernon (Sharlto Copley) and is backed up by Martin, Harry and Gordon. Having three groups in this intersection of interests definitely pushed and pulled this movie in directions you wouldn’t normally expect as each group has a different agenda, and each member of each group has diverging opinions on those interests. And as new characters are thrown into the party – a surprise party as it were – we see that the chaos just ripples wider and wider and wider.
Free Fire Final Thoughts
Normally I do deep dives on movies, but this one is just a blanket recommendation. Yes, this isn’t Quinton Tarantino. And yes, the action really is both thrilling and funny. But also know that a 90 minute shoot out might just be a little bit too much dessert than you bargained for? Maybe? But I loved it. The ride was fun. The laughs were good. The intensity was real. It was definitely a movie worth watching. And it sort of reminded me of the stunt movie, Victoria, which was shot in one single take… and it was a bank heist movie to boot. So yeah, check it out and let me know what you think of it. I’m interested to know your thoughts. Maybe in the comments I’ll answer some of the questions that plague many of you I’m sure. (Who were the guys in the rafters? Who was on what side? Were the double crosses ordained from the outset? Etc.)
Until next time gang!