Free Fire depicts the worst of humanity. It’s a simple premise: two groups meet at a warehouse to fulfil an arms deal. Tensions rise at the realisation that two attendants have prior ‘beef’. One shoots the other leading to a web of retaliation akin to the most needless of war zones amid which each of those present puts their self-interests first, aiming to secure the stash of money present at the scene for themselves.
The extreme level of violence in this film ends up being really quite comical, which is odd because it’s not at all cartoon like. It’s very graphic in fact, there’s just so much of it that you almost become immune ’till something slightly more grotesque happens. Free Fire is unexpected at every turn but the continual shooting lacks suspense at times; particularly as there’s not really a main protagonist to root for. That’s a testament to the ensemble cast including the likes of Brie Larson, Armie Harmer, Sharlto Copley, Cillian Murphy & Jack Reynor who make such an absurd situation seem totally normal – but you end up not really caring who dies which is quite scary in itself. I didn’t know I could be so flippant when it comes to violence!
Eventually, all the blood, shooting and crawling around make you feel like you’re in one of those ongoing nightmares where everything is just out of reach; but props have to be given to some truly laugh out loud moments scattered through the film’s ninety minutes. The ironic use of John Denver’s ‘You Fill Up My Senses’ as a bookend to the worst of the proceedings is a real highlight.
Overall, I can’t decide whether the whole thing is meant to be an amazing metaphor for society or is literally just a load of bad people shooting at each other in a warehouse. If it’s the former then Brie Larson’s character definitely brings an interesting subtext to the proceedings. Regardless, for such a violent film, Free Fire is a highly amusing watch. It’s unique, compelling, but perhaps not for the feint hearted. I give Free Fire a rating of 4/5.