ByElle McFarlane, writer at
'There's always someone younger and hungrier coming down the stairs after you.'
Elle McFarlane

Set in a sealed off, disused labyrinthine factory, Brie Larson's latest movie, Free Fire, combines a heady mixture of Tarantino, Peckinpah and director Ben Wheatley's signature off-beat style to dramatic effect. Raking in rounds upon rounds of positive reviews, it looks like Wheatley can add Free Fire to his impressive catalogue of forward-thinking, original movies and Brie Larson can add yet another distinguished string to her already string-laden bow.

Set in 1978, Free Fire follows an ensemble cast in the aftermath of a gun-trading deal which goes horribly array and ends in an epic showdown between the varied assortment of characters. Unafraid to show the gritty and frankly hilarious reality of the characters predicament, Wheatley leads an all-star cast including Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy, Michael Smiley and Sharlto Copley to gun-toting glory, with the reviews speaking for themselves.

So, let's dig a little deeper to see what the reviews, good and bad, had to say about Wheatley's latest trigger-happy movie.

The 'Free Fire' Reviews Indicate 2017 Is Going To Be The Year Of Brie Larson (Again)

'Free Fire' [Credit: StudioCanal]
'Free Fire' [Credit: StudioCanal]

When she's not busy silently protesting Casey Affleck's controversial Oscar win or hyping her new role as Marvel's 'Captain Marvel,' keeps herself busy by being one of the most hardworking actors in Hollywood. With 3 movies in post production, currently filming Avengers: Infinity War and now prepping for said role in Captain Marvel, the fact that this year has already seen Brie star in Kong: Skull Island is just the icing on an already hectic cake.

With Free Fire getting its official US release on 21 April, the reviews are now in — and it looks like Brie's latest movie offering has really hit the mark, setting up 2017 to be yet another stunning year for the Oscar winner.

Who Directed 'Free Fire?' The British Filmmaking Duo Behind Brie Larson's Latest Movie

British director Ben Wheatley has been flying the flag for off-beat independent filmmaking ever since his breakout feature Down Terrace wowed audiences at Fantastic Fest in Texas back in 2009. Since then he's gone on to direct a litany of unique, interesting movies from Kill List to Sightseers. A Field in England, High-Rise and now his latest release, Free Fire.

'High-Rise' [Credit: StudioCanal]
'High-Rise' [Credit: StudioCanal]

However, he's not done it alone. Wheatley's wife, Amy Jump, has worked with him on every feature, more often than not as the co-screenwriter and co-editor. The couple are a filmmaking powerhouse, with the agreement that Ben does all the press and PR side of the process, leaving Amy's privacy (relatively) intact. Free Fire marks the duo's sixth feature movie together and according to the reviews, it is one of their best.

Overwhelmingly, The 'Free Fire' Reviews Show It Hit The Mark

'Free Fire' [Credit: StudioCanal]
'Free Fire' [Credit: StudioCanal]

With an impressive 79% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and four star ratings on The Guardian, Empire and DenOfGeek, Free Fire has certified itself as a critical success. Referring to Free Fire as a "delirious descent into choreographed chaos," The Guardian went on to describe the movies as artfully combining:

"A silent movie visual sensibility with a Looney Tunes symphony of cacophonous ricochets and recoils."

Echoing the Guardian's sentiments, The Telegraph referred to Free Fire as "callously uproarious" and a "heroic group effort, resoundingly carried off," emphasizing Wheatley's penchant for creating a-typical movies:

"The kind of glamorous "clean kills" on which the entire tradition of the Hollywood shoot-out has been built are conspicuous by their absence."

Indiewire also picked up on the theme of Free Fire being anything but your typical 'shoot-em up' movie by referring to the film as:

"Less bullet ballet than bullet drum solo, Wheatley’s zany 90-minute set piece borrows the right ingredients to put on a good show."

But Not All The 'Free Fire' Reviews Were Glowing

'Free Fire' [Credit: StudioCanal]
'Free Fire' [Credit: StudioCanal]

But, as ever, not all critics were in agreement. With The New Yorker referring to Free Fire as a "smug knockoff of Quentin Tarantino's brand of ironic violence," The Hollywood Reporter stating that it was a "scattershot exercise in genre homage that ultimately misses the target" and The Independent going on to say:

"There's the sense that the filmmakers are spraying bullets for the sake of it, with little idea of what they are actually aiming at."

It's clear that Free Fire is being somewhat divisive in it's application of gimmick over characterization, leading some viewers left unsure who to route for in the epic shoot-out, and whether they actually care for any of the characters anyway.


Will you be watching Brie Larson in 'Free Fire?'

(Sources: The Guardian; Empire; The Telegraph; Indiewire; The New Yorker; The Hollywood Reporter; The Independent)


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