DVD review: Free Fire (5 out of 5)

Kerry Brown. Armie Hammer as Ord, Brie Larson as Justine, Cillian Murphy as Chris, Sam Riley as Stevo and Michael Smiley as Frank in Free Fire
Kerry Brown. Armie Hammer as Ord, Brie Larson as Justine, Cillian Murphy as Chris, Sam Riley as Stevo and Michael Smiley as Frank in Free Fire

Director Ben Wheatley has become one of the most exciting directors over a remarkably short time - just eight years.

Yes, it was 2009 when he gave us Down Terrace, a low budget family crime story with Michael Smiley in the cast.

Smiley is still part of the Wheatley stable of stars and has a great role in this latest movie, Free Fire, out on DVD on Monday.

We’ve seen some weird and wonderful films from Wheatley over the years, such as Kill List and A Field in England, but Free Fire is possibly his most mainstream to date.

It’s a another crime drama, but that would be too easy for for the director - this one is in real time, set in a warehouse and was a logistical nightmare for the cast and crew.

Although filmed in Brighton, it’s set in Boston in the late 1970s.

Cillian Murphy (Chris) and Smiley (Frank), plus a couple of other unpleasant characters are meeting Sharlto Copley’s Vernon and Arnie Hammer’s Ord to buy some guns.

Most of the characters take an instant dislike to each other and it’s no surprise when bullets start flying.

You’d think a 90-minute movie in which most of the action involves people shooting at each other would be boring and repetitive.

However, this is Wheatley’s genius - the ability to make his films quirky and appealing.

The whole cast is excellent but Hammer, sporting an amazing beard, stands out in particular.

Brie Larson has a great part to play as well (Wheatley doesn’t do eye-candy roles), standing alongside her testosterone fuelled male counterparts.

It’s a great movie and watching the ‘making off...’ extra on the DVD is a real eye-opener.

Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire will be available to download this Monday (July 31), and on DVD and Blu-Ray from August 7.