Sans setup or messy character development, Free Fire drops the audience right into the story of an improbable meetup between dudes looking to buy guns and the dudes who have the guns.

The players in the one-scene drama are the right mix, and each in the list of mostly emerging actors is already wholly convinced of who they are: One you love, one you hate, one who is old, one who is young, one who is mysterious, one who is pompous—you get the drift.

A creative plot from screenwriters Amy Jump and Ben Wheatley dishes out surprises that really are surprising. Wardrobe also did a spot-on job, with the crew in 1978 Boston outfitted in a smart set of attire from Armie Hammer's snug blazer as Ord the bodyguard-type, to the clown suit with shoulder pads sported by Vernon (Sharlto Copley, District 9) and the mustard number for the unforgettable Babou Ceesay (Eye in the Sky) along with a remarkable afro.

Knee high-boots and a great handbag complement the fixer's quick thinking, and as Justine, Brie Larson (Kong: Skull Island) makes a sizeable contribution as the only woman in the cast. She has all the room in the world to make an impression, and she does, notably crawling on the dirt floor of the warehouse with the same gusto as the rest of the gang.

We also dug on the sound, a sparse audio track with clear space for the witty dialog. Rather than a foreboding undertone of music, the singular instruments with spurts of jazz add a quality to the slow pace. The snappy editing means you trace every shot fired. Good old-fashioned rock-throwing, impromptu joint-smoking and poor marksmanship play their parts. Plus, bonus points for the juxtaposition between heavy weapons and John Denver. Be ready for a gore-fest that you might still be laughing at tomorrow.

7


+ Creative plot; good pace and laughter


- Guns and gore

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Regal, Violet Crown,
R,
90 min