Free Fire

First Hit:  Not many screenwriters and directors attempt to shoot an entire film in one room and this film shows why. Part of the issue with shooting a film in a one room, with a few scenes outside the room, is that the room set has to be dynamic or amazing and/or the characters have to be inspiring and so engaging that the audience is on the edge of their seat. Some films focus on one or the other while most of the rest try to focus on both. This one appears to focus on character development but by limiting any movement in the set because people are in a gunfight and pinned down, the difficulty in making the characters interesting, is pronounced.

What we have is two factions. One group wants to buy some M-16 rifles and another group wants to sell guns. The deal is filled with mistrust as the rifles that get delivered to the meeting place, a broken-down warehouse, are not M-16s. This creates tension between the two factions.

What blows this up is one of the guys Stevo (Sam Riley) who’s on the team buying the guns for the IRA, got beaten up by Harry (Jack Reynor), one of the guys from the seller’s team. Harry beat-up Stevo because he said some very rude things to his sister. When they each recognized each other they start to fight and the two sides begin shooting at each other and thus begins about an hours’ worth of shooting in a small confined space.

During the shooting the sides call out to each other and some of their past association comes to light.

There are very amusing parts and quips along the way which worked, however, the fight was too long and it ran out steam about 20 – 25 minutes into the gun battle. Although the ending wasn’t predictable, it didn’t mean much because I didn’t care a whole lot.

Regardless of the film, if there is nothing to root for, care about, or associate/connect with, then the experience dies and the film fades from my mind just as soon as I get up out of my seat.

The actors that stood out during this film were: Armie Hammer (as Ord) the strong arm. Brie Larson (as Justine) as the smoother between the two groups. Sharlto Copley (as Vernon) another strong arm. Others, like Riley and Reynor, were good, however this film didn’t quite lend itself to strong acting, just short quips and brief explosions of anger or shooting. Amy Jump and Ben Wheatley wrote a quippish script. Wheatley as director did get something out of the limited script, but after 20 minutes of the OK corral in a broken down warehouse the film just fizzled out.

Overall: This film had possibilities but in the end, it failed on all levels.