(WARRENSBURG, Mo.) – Countless movies are made every year. Some go straight to theaters and others appear in select theaters, Netflix, YouTube or film festivals. With all of these movies being made constantly, it becomes very easy to lose track of them all. Because of this, some good movies can get overlooked. In 2017, that was the case for a small movie called “Free Fire.”
If you’ve never heard of this movie, I don’t blame you. It was released during the fall and received a limited release – most of the actors aren’t famous either. I only watched it because my brother wanted to see it. I’m glad I did though, it’s probably one of most underrated movies of last year.
The movie is set in Boston during the 1970s. A simple arms deal in a warehouse between gun runners and those considered IRA (Irish Republican Army) terrorists goes terribly wrong and turns into a chaotic shootout. The characters then spend the rest, and the vast majority, of the film’s runtime in the warehouse basement shooting at one another.
It sounds like a serious movie, but in reality its more of an action-comedy. Most of the characters are idiots and bad shots. They also behave almost childishly, constantly insulting each other. Every character is shot at least once and by the halfway point, everyone is either crawling or limping and still shooting.
Except for a few scenes in the beginning, “Free Fire” completely takes place in one location: the warehouse. The characters are trapped in a gun battle, with no backup on its way – if you’re wondering why they don’t call for help, there were no cellphones in the ‘70s. Because it takes place in one location, the movie’s actors have to be good, which they are. They are able to pull off a lot of comedic timing and personalities.
Now, having some knowledge of the ‘70s may be a little helpful. You don’t need to be a historian, you just need to be familiar with who the IRA were: the Irish Republican Army was an outlawed paramilitary Irish group that fought for freedom from British rule. You should also know an old, folk singer named John Denver.
“Free Fire” was executively produced by Martin Scorsese. If you’re not familiar with his name, he’s considered to be one of the greatest directors currently still working in Hollywood. He has made films such as “Goodfellas,” “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “The Departed.”
Of course, to call this movie one of ‘his’ films might be going too far. I’m not sure exactly what an executive producer does during filmmaking – I have a funny feeling neither do the people in Hollywood.
I love how as they’re exchanging gunfire, they’re still yelling insults. The insults themselves are pretty much playground quality. Bear in mind, these criminals and IRA terrorists are supposed to be “professionals.”
This movie isn’t for everyone. There’s a lot of swearing, and the violence can be brutal at times. If offensive slurs bother you, you should know there are a few in the film.
On the surface, this is just another violent movie with some funny jokes. Under the surface, there’s some deeper elements. As the film proceeds, characters are killed off one by one. Their deaths are impactful because we, the audience, have spent the entire movie watching them and become attached to them.
Some of them we don’t want to see die, while others we do. As these people die, or come near death, their attitudes and actions start to change slightly. A few of them have their last words.
“Free Fire” isn’t a great movie, but I still really liked it. It’s a shame it went over looked, because it’s quality can match many other good films that came out last year. But fair warning: you may watch this movie and think it was dumb or just okay. “Free Fire” takes a certain personality to fully enjoy.
All in all, 2017 was filled with movies that felt like disappointments, so it was nice to come across one that felt like a pleasant surprise.