#TIFF16: “FREE FIRE”
Review by David Baldwin for Mr. Will Wong
After getting burned quite badly by his highly decisive High-Rise at last year’s Festival, I was a little skeptical to give Director Ben Wheatley’s Midnight Madness opener Free Fire a chance this year.
But I am very glad I did – because I freaking loved every moment of it.
Wheatley’s stylish and wildly unpredictable ode to ‘70s Crime-Thrillers is a blast from start to finish, rarely slowing down to breathe over the course of its 90-minute running time. What starts as a typical weapons deal devolves into a bloody, merciless and quick-witted Mexican standoff inside a sprawling abandoned warehouse. Everyone is in it for themselves, even turning on each other, hoping to be the last one standing to leave with a briefcase full of money.
The character set-up is minimal before chaos erupts, but each cast member seems to slide perfectly into their role. I have never seen Armie Hammer have as much fun or look nearly as cool under pressure as he does here. Sharlto Copley is pure manic insanity, continuing his string of standout, nonsensical character performances. Cillian Murphy is never afforded the time to cut loose, surprisingly staying narrow and calculating throughout. And fresh off her Oscar-winning turn in Room, Brie Larson turns heads as the only female in this room – who is just as lethal and desperate as the rest.
Free Fire is a lot of bloody fun, and the kind of genre film that audiences at Midnight Madness are going to go crazy for. Do not miss out.
FREE FIRE screens at TIFF ’16 on Thursday, September 8, 2016 at 11:59 PM and
Friday, September 9, 2016 at 11:30 AM at the Ryerson Theatre.