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: 18 Runtime: 99 mins Director: Julia Ducournau Cast: Garnace Marillier, Ella Rumpf, Rabah Nait Oufella, Lauret Lucas, Joana Preiss and Bouli Lanners
What are you hungry for?
Once Raw rocked Cannes last year the cinematic world went insane! People fainting, vomiting and well nausea all around. Julia Ducournau with her debut feature has created a massive stir with Raw. What the big shame about the film is people have a stigma about the film all ready. But we all know that any type of international film will be more intriguing than any Hollywood junk. I have been looking forward to Raw for a long time now, and finally I have seen it. So what is Raw about? Following in the footsteps of her entire family, shy 16-year-old Justine (Garnace Marillier), an animal-loving vegetarian, enrols in veterinary college. Entering a seductive world of boys, drugs and all-night parties, she is confronted with a moral dilemma when she must eat a raw rabbit liver as part of an initiation ritual. She devours the meat, and is soon overtaken by unusual cravings.
This is a hybrid of Cronenberg & Passolini. Julia Ducournau has truly grabbed my attention, Raw currently is the best film I have seen this year so far! Truly this is a masterwork by Julia Ducournau. The umbrella theme of cannibalism truly is vile but this is a strong feminist film and a great self-discovery story of a young woman. As we all know if you are squeamish this isn’t the film for you. It has some disturbing imagery, Ducournau really gives it a great artistic angle. For me I have seen far worse scenes in cinema but I can understand why some people are traumatised by Raw. The grainy look of Raw gives the tone to it from the get go, the colours just give you the shivers throughout. It’s cold and un-nerving but this is what I like. The story evolves naturally throughout, it feels very organic and the development of the key characters feel so genuine and real. I can’t give Julia Ducournau enough praise this is an outstanding debut as a writer/director.
Raw wouldn’t of been the behemoth it is without Garance Marillier. Justine will long live in my memory. Her evolution in Raw is just mesmeric. She starts off so fragile and by the end she becomes unleashes her inner woman. Pure poetry and a great female lead no doubt. For an actress I would imagine this was a difficult process for her to be in, but she thrives as Justine. I hope to see more of Mademoiselle Marrillier in the future. The other two stand out performances in Raw were from Ella Rumpf and Rabah Nait Oufella. They provide a great backbone to Justine, they really helped the evolution of the story. Their own progression throughout Raw truly make it a beautiful coming of age story. If Raw ever were to be made into an American film I would quit being a film critic! This is pure cinema for me, French/Belgium to be precise. It’s female empowering and unique if you can catch Raw please do so. This is what a strong female role looks like people, it may be gory and bloody but it packs a punch.