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Free Fire

Gangsters meet for an arms deal, a petty matter leads to a fight, one person fires followed by everyone firing. Minimalist 70s retro gangster film in the vein of Johnny To’s THE MISSION and Tarantino’s RESERVOIR DOGS.


After two somewhat experimental films, the psychedelic historical thriller A FIELD IN ENGLAND and the pessimistic HIGH RISE, Ben Wheatley’s new film almost seems like a successor of Johnny To’s THE MISSION or Tarantino’s RESERVOIR DOGS: 70s retro styling, a pop soundtrack, violent rituals, with all guns ablazing until (just one) cries. Wheatley goes about it all in a minimalist way. Gangsters meet for an arms deal, a trifle starts a fight, one person shoots, then everyone does - and that’s just the first 10 minutes. In FREE FIRE people don’t just fall down and die when a bullet hits them. Wheatley isn’t interested in splatter effects, people die in relatively clean ways, but slowly. 90 minutes until you die, 90 minutes till the cops arrive. Unlike Tarantino and his Asian role models, Wheatley’s characters are quite incompetent. The most adept person might be the cool Justine (Brie Larson) who engineered the trade between Irish sellers Frank (Michael Smiley) and Chris (Cillian Murphy) and the snotty psychopath Cord (Armie Hammer) who has taken over for white South African Vernon (Shartlo Copley) and his black partner Martin (Babou Ceesay). The fact that Martin is smarter than conceited Vernon who calls Martin his “boy” and that he has his own agenda becomes quickly clear. The arm dealers hired helpers are hopeless cases on the other hand. FREE FIRE is also a satire of cross-generational, weapon enthusiastic stupidity. There are pauses and half-hearted attempts to get out of the mess during the lengthy massacre,but when the cinema war machine has begun there’s no stopping it.

Tom Dorow

Translation: Elinor Lewy


Frankreich/Großbritannien 2016, 90 min
Genre: Action, Comedy
Director: Ben Wheatley
Author: Ben Wheatley, Amy Jump
DOP: Laurie Rose
Montage: Ben Wheatley, Amy Jump
Music: Geoff Barrow, Ben Salisbury
Distributor: Splendid Film
Cast: Cillian Murphy, Patrick Bergin, Sam Riley, Sharlto Copley, Enzo Cilenti, Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, Jack Reynor
FSK: 16
Release: 06.04.2017



  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles

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