The biggest thing that drew me to the film was the cast. Sharlto Copley and Cillian Murphy have been favourites of mine for a number of years now. Additionally I’ve been looking out for Brie Larson films after seeing her in Room.
Free Fire has a very easy to follow plot. Two groups meet up in a warehouse to complete an arms deal. Tensions rise between members of the opposing sides, and a gunfight breaks out.
Each of the characters throughout the film gets their own small story lines as they try to attain their own personal goals or punish their adversary. The movie does well to develop the characters this way. It leads to shouting matches and break downs in communication during the lulls in the gunfire.
Despite the fact that the film’s full runtime is a prolonged gunfight, I wouldn’t label it as an action film. The gunfights are dirty and disorienting which makes for a hectic, claustrophobic thriller. The action serves more as a wait for the dust to settle, so you can check to see what new damage has been done to the characters and how they’ll react to new developments.
Secondarily it’s a comedy. It’s not a laugh out loud, sidesplitting comedy, but the chemistry of the characters and their struggles to one up each other make for lighter moments. This combines with the extremities of the situation and its crazier moments to add a levity to the film.
My Favourites from the film: The cast is great and works well together. The characters are all written in a way that makes them each feel unique, and the film’s direction gives them their own personal character moments. Despite it’s simple plot and setting, it moves along at a good pace.
My Less enjoyed parts: The limits of a dingy, dim warehouse as a setting makes the slower parts more obvious. There are a couple of points that feel like they were supposed to be further developments that would create new conflicts for the characters, but they ended up being just momentary distractions. The ending suffers a little from being a bit of a cliched, crime drama ending.
My Recommendation: This film isn’t for the casual moviegoer. It will only appeal to fans of small scale comedy/thrillers or some buddy comedy style films. It made me think of a low budget RocknRolla or even The Nice Guys.