Cert: 15 Runtime: 90 mins Director: Ben Wheatley Cast: Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy, Brie Larson, Sharlto Copley, Michael Smiley and Noah Taylor
You want the weapons? Or you don’t want the weapons?
Ben Wheatley is a film-maker I respect and admire. High-Rise and Sightseers are probably the two best British films of the last ten years. Free Fire is his latest with Martin Scorsese executive producing this is
his first big film IMO. This is a true stellar international cast to boot. Armie Hammer, Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Sharlto Copley to name a few Free Fire was a must watch. So what is Free Fire about? In America in 1978, Justine (Larson) has arranged a deal on behalf of two Irishmen (Cillian Murphy, Michael Smiley) to buy a stash of guns from gangsters Vernon (Copley) and Ord (Hammer), but then there’s a misunderstanding and shots are fired… The standout cast have great fun with this shoot-’em-up and the playful script’s wry dialogue as the manic standoff escalates into a bloody game of survival.
Free Fire is an absolute riot from start to finish. The pace is established from the get go as once we are introduced to the characters things go bonkers immediately. As the film continues some character motivations are made clearer which may lead one to question who’s side anyone is actually on. Whereas some are left in the dark to let the audience ponder at their own freewill. Shooting starts due to past events that resurface after two gang members come face to face leaving a road of destruction in their wake.Free Fire has top notch sound design, Wheatley gives his audience a sense of space within a confined environment in which I feel he purposely neglects in his visual representations. The action on screen is messy and convoluted to a point that fits the narrative of what comes to be every man for himself.
It’s impossible to determine who is where and therefore who’s side anybody is actually on. At first I found this to be a problem when watching but giving it some afterthought I came to realise what Mr. Wheatley was aiming for. Using direction of sound to determine each players position on the board. It’s quite an ambitious directing choice but I believe Wheatley more than pays off. Free Fire is a thrilling, hilarious, action packed ball of insanity that is not without it’s flaws, mostly with Brie Larson’s character as I feel she was kind of sidelined without much to do, she was certainly left too much in the shadows, I would have liked to see more of her. Of course the moments she had on screen were definitely benefiting. But my willingness to look past them as they’re not too major is my sheer enjoyment of the movies denouement which had me smiling from ear to ear so much that my jaw started hurting. It’s no High-Rise or Sightseers but it does show how talented Ben Wheatley is.
Cert: 15 Runtime: 119 mins Director: Ben Wheatley Cast: Tom Hiddelston, Luke Evans, Sienna Miller, Elisabeth Moss and Jeremy Irons
Leave the real world behind
Ben Wheatley is probably the most up and coming British directors for some time now. Kill List, A Field in England and the phenomenal Sightseers have been given wide acclaim. But the general cinematic public either love him or hate him, his films are dubbed pretentious and boring (for me he is a visionary). Now his latest film High-Rise is from a novel written by J.G. Ballard, many people will not know who he is but my days read some of his books! It’s an exceptional book that’s worth anyone’s time.High-Rise has received wide acclaim from critics but the vast amount of movie going reviews have hated it. So what is High-Rise about? Dr. Robert Laing (Tom Hiddleston) has just moved into a plush London high-rise development and soon becomes an integral part of the class struggle within its walls. Among the new people he meets are belligerent filmmaker Richard (Luke Evans) and his long-suffering wife Helen (Elizabeth Moss), seductive Charlotte (Sienna Miller) and architect Anthony Royal (Jeremy Irons). However, the atmosphere of the building also fosters an increasing sense of alienation between the various floors, and before long its inhabitants descend into bloodshed and chaos.
Well my opinion is with the critics I am afraid! High-Rise is equally Ben Wheatley’s best film along with Sightseers. If you have read the book I do believe it gives you more of a narrative edge going in. But the screenplay is slightly different to the book. I have no issue with this in all fairness, it gives it slightly a different angle. The message about the social divide is still prominent through out. Amy Jump’s screenplay has such a great humour to it, but the darkness of the story shines from page to screen. I would imagine Ballard would of approved of the film. Ben Whatley’s creation is of visual beauty within a large concrete jungle of pompousness, death and rubbish bags. His evolution continues with High-Rise, the pallet of colour is just stunning the colouring just sets each scene so well. Free Fire his next project is something I can’t wait to see now. My only big issue with High-Rise is the pacing at some points, some scenes seemed unnecessary but no film is perfect. I can understand why some people have walked out of the film, but High-Rise and me got along just fine.
Clint Mansell’s soundtrack created the blood that pumps through the veins of the film. Not since Mica Levi’s Under The Skin soundtrack I’ve respected a soundtrack so much. Probably by now some of you must think, what a pretentious twat. I’m just a working class lad that enjoys cinema, it may not be for you but it was for me. The cast was of a stellar level, mainly Luke Evans and Sienna Miller. This is Evans’s best role to date, I’ve never really rated him before. But he did bring Wilder to life, he brought a lot of passion to the role and I commend him. Sienna Miller made Charlotte Melville more three dimensional too me. I never really understood her in the book, but now I have more sense of her. Tom Hiddelston and Jeremy Irons give admirable performances. My issue with Hiddelston is that it seems to be the same character he plays over and over again. Jeremy Irons didn’t have as much screen time for me! Anthony Royal is more of a prominent character in the book. All in all High-Rise is insane, risqué and unnerving! It breaks the boundaries of modern cinema and a breath of fresh air for me.