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Free Fire

Free Fire

Directed by Ben Wheatley. Starring Sharlto Copley, Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, Enzo Cilenti, Sam Riley, Michael Smiley, Cillian Murphy, Babou Ceesay, Noah Taylor, Jack Reynor, Patrick Bergin. (2017, R, 90 min.)

REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., April 21, 2017

No one alive today makes the sort of movies Ben Wheatley does, and this, his sixth feature since 2009’s haunting and perfect lo-fi gangster melodrama Down Terrace, is both a formal experiment in crime caper reductionism and a comic gem riddled with enough gorily farcical moments to leave you laughing up blood. It also sports more gunfire than John Woo’s The Killer and Hard Boiled combined. I’m tempted to think that this is Wheatley’s none-too-subtle commentary on the absurdity of American gun culture – he’s a Brit – but since the story takes place in Boston in the Seventies and involves the Irish Republican Army, maybe not. As always, however, with Wheatley there’s more than meets the eye.

Armie Hammer slyly steals the show as Ord, a very chill American arms dealer who, along with associate Justine (Larson), tries mightily to broker a sale between IRA member Chris (Murphy) and hyperactive South African gunrunner Vernon (Copley). The whole movie takes place in an abandoned warehouse packed to its rotted roof with oodles of I-beams and concrete rubble, the better for wayward ballistics to ricochet off of and puncture countless times, once the deal goes awry. (There’s a certain Reservoir Dog-edness to Free Fire, but Wheatley ratchets up the ridiculousness of the situation rather than investing it with too much QT gravitas.)

This is an ensemble outing all the way to its bitter ironic end, and so Wheatley regular Michael Smiley shows up as Frank, Chris’ lieutenant, alongside the excellent Sam Riley as Stevo, his dopey, junkie little brother. Filling out the firefight-to-come are some terrific, memorable, nuanced turns from Noah Taylor (Game of Thrones) and Jack Reynor’s itchy trigger-fingered Harry. Wheatley, who co-scripted with his spouse and writing partner Amy Jump, sustains a level of comic violence that might normally arrive as a single set-piece in someone else’s action film, and yet Free Fire feels like a minor work, coming as it does from the director of the unambiguously genius High-Rise and the profoundly unsettling A Field in England. That’s not a serious knock, though. Free Fire is exactly what you think it is, yet more entertaining than it has any right to be. Add to that the Oscar-caliber editing (by perpetual multitaskers Wheatley and Jump), plus random moments of John Denver, and you have one of the smartest dumb shoot-’em-ups in years.

Alamo Drafthouse Lakeline

14028 U.S. Hwy. 183 N.  512/861-7070

drafthouse.com/austin/theater/lakeline

FRI APR 28

11:50am, 2:40, 5:45, 8:35, 11:15

SAT APR 29

11:50am, 2:40, 5:45, 8:35, 11:15

SUN APR 30

11:50am, 2:35, 5:45, 8:35, 11:15

MON MAY 01

11:50am, 2:40, 5:45, 8:35, 11:15

TUE MAY 02

2:40, 5:45, 8:35, 11:15
AFA: 11:50am

WED MAY 03

11:50am, 2:40, 5:45, 8:35, 11:15

Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter Lane

5701 W. Slaughter  512/861-7060

drafthouse.com/austin/theater/slaughter-lane

Showtimes at this venue are subject to frequent change. Please confirm daily times by phone or website.

FRI APR 28

1:10, 8:25

SAT APR 29

1:05, 8:25

SUN APR 30

1:05, 8:25

MON MAY 01

2:40, 8:10

TUE MAY 02

2:40, 8:10

WED MAY 03

1:55

Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar

1120 S. Lamar  512/861-7040

drafthouse.com/theater/south-lamar

FRI APR 28

12:10, 2:45, 5:20, 7:55, 10:30

SAT APR 29

12:10, 2:45, 5:20, 7:55, 10:30

SUN APR 30

12:10, 2:45, 5:20, 7:55, 10:30

MON MAY 01

12:10, 2:45, 5:20, 7:55, 10:30

TUE MAY 02

2:45, 5:20, 7:55, 10:30
AFA: 12:10

WED MAY 03

12:10, 2:45, 5:20, 7:55, 10:30

Alamo Drafthouse Village

2700 W. Anderson  512/861-7030

drafthouse.com/austin/theater/village

Tuesday matinee Baby Day shows (first show of the day) are intended for parents and their children younger than 6. Showtimes at this venue are subject to frequent change. Please confirm daily times by phone or website.

FRI APR 28

4:05

SAT APR 29

10:20

SUN APR 30

2:10

MON MAY 01

1:35

TUE MAY 02

1:15

WED MAY 03

3:40

Arbor Cinema @ Great Hills

9828 Great Hills Trail  512/231-9742

Discounts daily before 6pm.

FRI APR 28

CC/DVS: 4:30, 7:30, 10:00

SAT APR 29

CC/DVS: 4:30, 7:30, 10:00

SUN APR 30

CC/DVS: 7:30, 10:00

MON MAY 01

CC/DVS: 4:30, 7:30, 10:00

TUE MAY 02

CC/DVS: 4:30

WED MAY 03

CC/DVS: 4:30

THU MAY 04

CC/DVS: 4:30, 7:30, 10:00

Cinemark Southpark Meadows

9900 S. I-35  800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

FRI APR 28

digital: 11:00am, 1:40, 4:20

SAT APR 29

digital: 11:00am, 1:40, 4:20

SUN APR 30

digital: 11:00am, 1:40, 4:20

MON MAY 01

digital: 11:00am, 1:40, 4:20, 7:40, 10:15

TUE MAY 02

digital: 11:00am, 1:40, 4:20, 7:40, 10:15

WED MAY 03

digital: 11:00am, 1:40, 4:20

Flix Brewhouse

2200 S. I-35, Round Rock  512/244-3549

www.flixbrewhouse.com/round-rock

FRI APR 28

Reserved Seating: 11:30am, 2:00, 4:30, 10:30

SAT APR 29

Reserved Seating: 11:30am, 2:00, 4:30, 10:30

SUN APR 30

Reserved Seating: 11:30am, 2:00, 4:30, 10:00

MON MAY 01

Reserved Seating: 11:30am, 2:00, 4:30, 10:30

TUE MAY 02

Reserved Seating: 11:30am, 2:00, 4:30, 10:30

WED MAY 03

Reserved Seating: 11:30am, 2:00, 4:30, 10:30

THU MAY 04

Reserved Seating: 11:30am, 2:00, 4:30

Galaxy Highland 10

6700 Middle Fiskville  512/467-7305

www.galaxytheatres.com

No one under 18 will be allowed in the theatre on Friday or Saturday after 7pm without an adult.

FRI APR 28

ClosedCap;DescListen;HI: 7:05, 9:35, 11:45

SAT APR 29

ClosedCap;DescListen;HI: 7:05, 9:35, 11:45

SUN APR 30

MON MAY 01

TUE MAY 02

WED MAY 03

THU MAY 04

iPic Theaters Austin

3225 Amy Donovan Plaza  512/568-3400

www.ipic.com

FRI APR 28

11:35am, 6:30

SAT APR 29

11:35am, 6:30

SUN APR 30

11:35am, 6:30

MON MAY 01

11:35am, 6:30

TUE MAY 02

11:35am, 6:30

WED MAY 03

11:35am, 6:30
READ MORE
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KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Free Fire, Ben Wheatley, Sharlto Copley, Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, Enzo Cilenti, Sam Riley, Michael Smiley, Cillian Murphy, Babou Ceesay, Noah Taylor, Jack Reynor, Patrick Bergin

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