Trailers are a double-edged sword, and in the case of FREE FIRE, I ended up drawing some of my own blood.
The concept of “friendly fire”, in terms of drawing ones own blood, is an interesting one when it comes to FREE FIRE, because that’s one of the problems with the film.
The trailer made the film look cool, a stylized shoot-em-up in a warehouse with quip-filled dialogue and a soundtrack to add some ambiance. It turned out to be very misleading on those accounts.
Absolutely the best part of FREE FIRE are the visuals, which is a bit surprising because it utilizes a dingy warehouse as its setting. Yet, the color choices which were made, for the clothing, various objects set around the warehouse, did give a pop to various looks in on the situation at hand.
And what a convoluted plot it was. At one point, I lost track of which “side” various people were on, the alliances, and (surprisingly) the reason that certain people were shooting at each other. It didn’t help that some of the characters, through their dialogue or aimless firing of their guns, obviously didn’t know, either. The film’s ending does provide a bit of clarity to things, in terms of explaining why part of the strife is occurring, but the motivation aspect wasn’t there. This might be hard to explain without giving spoilers, but an earlier plot point provided a potential motivation for the character, but given the plot point, it’s also a potential motivation for that character making the opposite choice from what they did.
In the beginning minutes of the gun-fight which lasted roughly the final 80% of the run-time, I was encouraged to think that if two specific characters were shot and killed for terrible choices they made, that the rest of the group wouldn’t have to get sucked down into mindless violence. Then frustratingly terrible choices followed, and as it did, I started losing considerable interest in seeing any of the characters survive.
There wasn’t much asked of the actors in terms of performances. Whether it’s Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Armie Hammer, Sharlto Copley, or Jack Reynor, the lack of character depth keeps anyone from having a stand-out performance. Sure, each of them had somewhat entertaining moments, especially Copley, but none of these characters were memorable enough that I’d be interested in revisiting this movie a year from now.
If you’re going to see this film, watch it in the theater or on a really good home theater setup. It’s visually appealing and the gunshots ricocheting around the room was somewhat fun. If you have the means, I would probably recommend having music on in the background (for a home viewing), possibly even a Tarantino soundtrack, Awesome Mix Vol 1, or something of the ilk. I’ve yet to do it (obviously), and would be very interested in recommended tracks to add to the playlist, but I’m sure it would increase the enjoyability of the film.
My rating: 60 out of 100