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TIFF 2016: ‘Free Fire’ Is The Most Fun You Can Have In An Abandoned Warehouse

Who’s Behind It

TIFF golden boy Ben Wheatley (Kill List, Sightseers, High-Rise) directs and co-writes alongside constant collaborator Amy Jump.

Who’s In It

Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy, Sharlto Copley, Sam Riley, Noah Taylor, Michael Smiley, and Oscar-winner Brie Larson (following up her crazy-successful debut at last year’s festival in Room).

Free-Fire

Who’ll Love It

Wheatley devotees who appreciate the fact that the director never makes the same movie twice—and especially anyone who likes Sightseers best. This is a return to accessible comedy for the filmmaker.

What’s It About

Boston, 1978—what could go wrong when two sets of thin-skinned, high-strung criminals show up to complete a big-time arms deal in an abandoned warehouse? So much. It’s obvious from the beginning that the deal is taking place inside an emotional tinder box. One side is jumpy and untrusting, the other is, well, just really grating (see: Sharlto Copley channeling ineffectual band manager Murray from Flight of The Conchords). Surrounded by boxes full of guns, it’s only a matter of time before the first fool fires the first shot. Wheatley said he wanted to see what it look like if a car chase was just a bunch of wounded guys crawling around in the dirt. Hilarious mission: accomplished.

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Why You Should See It

Wheatley and Jump’s sharp dialogue combined with all-in performances from the ensemble cast make the movie. Armie Hammer is an underworld Don Draper if Don Draper made jokes and smoked pot. Cillian Murphy is a man with a cause and a dinner date you hope he gets to keep. Brie Larson’s character keeps you wondering whose side she’s on (even after she tells you). Everyone else just acts like a complete jackass—other people’s terrible choices are always entertaining.

What The Cast And Director Have To Say About It

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Wheatley has always claimed that he makes the kinds of movies he wants to see. With Free Fire, the director said he was bored by large-scale action movies that laid waste to entire cities. He kept the action inside one warehouse, shooting each scene in order (which, says Larson, felt like “one long, drawn-out game of laser tag”). The only scene that was filmed out of sequence was one where Copley’s character is set on fire–”Just it case it went wrong,” joked the actor.

When You Can See It

Free Fire premiered last night, kicking off TIFF’s Midnight Madness program. A repeat screening is scheduled for September 9, 11:30am, Ryerson. The film is slated for a 2017 release.

Check out the red band trailer below.

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