Published Apr 21, 2017This review was originally published during the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival
British director Ben Wheatley has had a lot of success playing fast and loose with his surreal and subversive filmmaking in recent years, gaining a cult-like following and loads of critical adoration thanks in part to the Toronto International Film Festival (his four previous films have played there).
He continues his weirdo indie-auteur reign at the festival with Free Fire, a violent and vulgar shoot 'em up that recalls early Quentin Tarantino. Set in a dilapidated warehouse in the 1970s, the film stars an unlikely ensemble of British A-list actors (Michael Smiley, Cillian Murphy), Oscar winners (Brie Larson) and talented up-and-comers (Jack Reynor, for one) who become wounded within minutes and must fight for survival after a gun deal between two gangs goes bad.
For a film that involves most of its characters crawling around with bullet holes in their bodies trying to kill each other, the acting is in a class above the rest. Free Fire is bound to be the crowning achievement of this year's Midnight Madness programme. (Elevation Pictures)