Free Fire (Film Review) – An Enjoyable Surprise

Free Fire is an action-comedy directed by Ben Wheatley and stars stars Brie Larson, Sharlto Copley, Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy and Jack Reynor. Free Fire is set in the 1970s and the story of the film focuses on a group of criminals who meet up in a warehouse for an arms deal. However, tensions run high and a disagreement quickly sparks a full-scale shootout between the two parties who were making the transaction.

My Knowledge and Expectation of Free Fire

I knew very little about Free Fire before I watched it at my local cinema. Nowadays, it is very hard to go into a film and not know anything about it due to an abundance of trailers, reviews and, unfortunately, spoilers. Apart from one trailer and a few reviews of the film coming out of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) last year, Free Fire was an unknown quantity and, because of this, I did not know what to expect from this film.

Brie Larson in Free Fire

My Thoughts on Free Fire

On the whole, I really enjoyed Free Fire for what it was. It was a nice surprise. There are funny moments throughout the film thanks to the fantastic script that has some really witty, snappy dialogue. Still, any film can have a great script but you need a good cast of actors to bring the words to life.

Thankfully, Free Fire succeeds on this level. On an individual basis, each actor in the film is good and particular standouts, for me, were Sharlto Copley and Armie Hammer as they were involved in the most humorous moments in the film. Yet, it is the actors’ interactions with each other, as an ensemble, where Free Fire shines. The cast had great chemistry and I found it to be the films’ strongest element.

Armie Hammer in Free Fire

The Flaws of Free Fire

This is why I felt that the third act of Free Fire was the weakest and the film did fall off during that period. At that stage, let’s just say there were not as many people in the film than there were at the start. As a consequence, there were fewer moments where the cast could interact with each other and provide consistently funny moments. The third act relied more on action than comedy and, while the two were intrinsically linked throughout the film, the comedy was stronger than the action in Free Fire.

Despite this, I still enjoyed the film. Moreover, I preferred it much more than Ben Wheatley’s previous work in High-Rise and I feel that Free Fire is a great foundation for Ben Wheatley to build upon and become more of a mainstream name. In the end, if you are interested in watching Free Fire, I do not feel like you will be let down.

20th Century Women (Film Review) – A Cool Film

20th Century Women is a drama directed and written by Mike Mills and stars Elle Fanning, Greta Gerwig, Lucas Jade Zumann, Billy Crudup and Annette Bening. The film, which is partly based on Mills’ childhood, is set in Santa Barbara, California in 1979 and the story centres on Dorothea (Annette Bening) who enlists the help of Abbie (Greta Gerwig) and Julie (Elle Fanning) to raise her son, Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann).

My Knowledge and Expectation of 20th Century Women

My interest in 20th Century Women was sparked by a trailer I saw at my local cinema about a month ago and, at first glance, it seemed very unique and interesting. Additionally, this film has been given a lot of praise by critics, especially when it comes to Annette Bening’s performance.

Annette Bening and Lucas Jade Zumann in 20th Century Women

Indeed, some argue that she should have been nominated for Best Actress at the Oscars. Despite this perceived snub, 20th Century Women has been nominated for Best Original Screenplay at this year’s Oscars. This made me even more curious about how this film would impact me.

My Thoughts on 20th Century Women

In the end, I found 20th Century Women to be a film that is very relaxing and that relaxation I felt was solely down to the pacing. Certainly, the effect that the film had on me was quite soothing thanks to the pacing which, to be honest, I did not expect going into it. Some may call 20th Century Women slow but once I became accustomed to the pacing, the film really shone for what it was which is a very good coming-of-age story.

Elle Fanning in 20th Century Women

For me, the characters were the best part of the film. They were genuinely likeable and felt like real people with depth. A lot of credit should go to director Mike Mills in the way he drew inspiration from his upbringing to create great characters for his film and the cast deserve praise for bringing them to life. Truly, Annette Bening is brilliant as the lead in 20th Century Women but the supporting cast around her are also fantastic and they gave the film a lot of heart.

There is also a good blend of comedy and drama in 20th Century Women. Certain lines of dialogue and moments in the film are absolutely hilarious but the film also deals with serious issues and themes which you would expect such as parenthood, growing old, love and the struggles of adolescence. The blend of genres combine to make 20th Century Women a film that is worth your time if you let it wash over you and want a relaxing but deep, poignant experience.