Thursday, 13 April 2017

Review: Free Fire (second-pass)

Free Fire (second-pass)
Cert: 15 / 91 mins / Dir. Ben Wheatley / Trailer

An odd one, this. Free Fire is a film I'd been itching to watch again since my first-pass.*1 In the interim, I'd somehow managed to forget how consistently funny it is, despite me telling people over the last few weeks that humour is one of its many strengths, and I can say hand-on-heart that there are nothing but fantastic performances all round. I fact, I can't think of a single bad thing to say about any of it.

Which is why I'm struggling to think how I haven't given the movie full-marks. Sure, I don't hand that score out often, but Free Fire is a remarkable film. It's not a sequel, reboot or franchise-entry, the 'price of admission'*2 is low and it's continually engaging with a fairly linear story. The script is eminently quotable and the run-time doesn't outstay its welcome. The film's almost unique in that I wouldn't really know what to place it next to on a shelf, other than Ben Wheatley's other films. For an out-of-the-blue movie which can appeal to multiple demographics*3, this is unprecedented Film Of The Year material. And yet I'm still only marking it 6, without knowing what could possibly make it any better. Answers on a postcard, please.

I didn't necessarily 'get' more out of watching Free Fire again, but I enjoyed it every single bit as much. This film is future comfort-food for the cold, dark winter months.

Oh, and nice touch with Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury's Justine's Theme on the soundtrack being a musical reference to Giorgio Moroder's end-credits piece in Scarface.
I'm assuming that's deliberate since it sticks out like a sore thumb.

Best dialogue:

a) "...I like his jumper."

b) [two men, grappling on an abandoned warehouse floor]
"You smell of perfume!"

c) "I just want a little sympathy, that's all."
"You want sympathy, son? It's in the dictionary between shit and syphilis, now get over there..."

So, watch this if you enjoyed?
Inherent Vice.

Should you watch this in a cinema, though?
If you can, yes.

Does the film achieve what it sets out to do?
It does.

Is this the best work of the cast or director?
Best? Probably not.
Most entertaining? Quite possibly

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?

Yes, but is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?

Yes, but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 1: Cornelius Evazan's in this. And he has two of those best-lines, up there.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

*1 And what a difference a change-of-screen makes. The mumbled dialogue I'd noted last time was all but gone, with the general-release run of the film taking place in the more bijou Screen 3 of my local (as opposed to the advance showing, in the massive Screen 5). Whether it was the same levels bouncing around a smaller room or a different speaker-balance, it goes to show how much film/audio presentation can vary, even within the same venue. [ BACK ]

*2 By which I mean intellectually and philosophically, not financially. The literal 'price of admission' for actual cinema viewing is both high, and frustratingly consistent over varying levels of artistic quality. But that's a grumble for another post. [ BACK ]

*3 Because you don't have to be a Ben Wheatley-nerd to enjoy the film's gunplay and humour, but at the same time it's not an action-movie and there's far more under the surface anyway. [ BACK ]

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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