College of DuPage's student newspaper | Est. 1967

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Free Fire: Solely Chaos in a Cage

Kitt Fresa, News Editor

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Free Fire takes the intensity of illegal weapon sales and the strange relationships of business criminals and put its all in a warehouse to see unfold. However if you’re looking for more than that, you’re out of luck.

Set in Boston in 1978, two gangs meet to buy some guns in an abandoned warehouse. Tensions are high as the deal begins but the crew members ease the intensity with foul mouthed jokes and a casual approach to their illegal acts. Of course though, things go awry and a shootout breaks out.

As bullets fly and ricochet off the concrete walls, gang members drop to the dirty floor of the destroyed warehouse. Ignoring the broken glass and occasional used needle the gang members largely still remain calm as they take cover behind anything they’re close to. As the clash begins to slim the gang war turns into a bit of a stalemate with bits of action only popping up when eager heads do. However largely, everyone except a few drug addicts still keep it pretty calm as it’s all just seemingly business.

Free Fire is largely an intense movie overall, there aren’t any good guys or bad guys so it’s fun to pick your favorite and hope that they win. However this is really where it peaks. There isn’t a story to it, it’s more about the experience and the slowly played out violence than anything which at times is very entertaining to watch. Everyone’s performances had their own special takes on their characters. No character is alike and it reinforces that idea of picking and choosing your favorite. So really as the film went on it felt more like a picking and choosing slapstick action thriller than a film with a traditional story. It’s a free for all in the way its setup and excuses its style and also as a story, hence the name, Free Fire.

Director Ben Wheatley who previously directed the dreamlike indie film High Rise has done a very unique job with Free Fire. Wheatley has a very specific style of filmmaking that has always been very outstanding and unique. Free Fire is no exception, the intensity, the unique composition, the engrossing characters, they all make Free Fire great. However Wheatley seemingly keeps making the same mistakes with his last films, hollow endings. Going into his films they always start great but they never end well. Free Fire’s ending was certainly better than High Rises, which really came crashing down more towards the middle, but it still left me with an unsatisfied feeling. Free Fire has all the right parts to a great movie, and it’s even set up as one, however it still peaks early and ends on that flat note. As a Director I think Wheatley has grown very much and I look forward to seeing when he truly nails it, because that film will be truly amazing. However Free Fire is not it. He’s getting closer but it just falls shy of real greatness and Wheatley fullest potential. There’s no real reason to see this in theaters so maybe just wait until Netflix picks it up.

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College of DuPage's student newspaper | Est. 1967
Free Fire: Solely Chaos in a Cage