Critics and audiences may have been divided on director Ben Wheatley’s early 2016 offering High Rise, a dystopian thriller that felt more like a blatant assault on the senses than a coherent narrative. But his latest effort has been met with near-universal acclaim after a raucous, rowdy premiere in the Midnight Madness category at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Free Fire boasts an absurdly simple premise: two groups of arms dealers meet in an empty warehouse to exchange goods, tempers and egos begin to flare, and before long they’re all trying to kill each other. In most films, this might be the setup for a major action setpiece during the third act, but Wheatley is taking a decidedly different approach. Obviously working from the “go big or go home” school of thought, the entirety of Free Fire‘s 90 minutes is built around this shootout, which mostly plays out in real time.
If you’re wondering just how the hell Wheatley expects to pull this off, he’ll bringing out some heavy ammunition of his own, including Oscar winner Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy and Sharlto Copley, among others. Check out the NSFW red-band trailer below to see them in action.
If Free Fire only managed to be half as entertaining as that trailer, it would still be amazing, but by all accounts Wheatley knocks it out of the park. We Got This Covered described it as a “charming attack of grim, slapstick finality, as poetically punishing as it is downright dastardly,” while /Film called it “a furiously entertaining exercise that left me buzzing with energy long after I’d left the theater.” And those are only two examples of the praise that was heaped upon the film after its premiere – there’s plenty of other rave reviews floating around out there.
Regrettably, those of us unable to attend TIFF will have to resign ourselves to a long wait for Wheatley’s latest: A24 has picked up Free Fire for distribution, but the film won’t be making its way to theaters until sometime in 2017.
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