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Free Fire (0/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 85 minutes

Not for children.

Even from the outset back in the 1910s when they were in their infancy, film has been a directorís medium. When you have to see as many movies as I do you begin to learn that some directors have a good record of producing entertaining films and others do not. Top upon the list of the latter are directors like Terrence Malick who was responsible for junk like To the Wonder (2012), which is just one of his many unwatchable dirges. Quickly rising to the top of the list now is Ben Wheatley whose last effort was High Rise (2015), a movie so bad I walked out on it.

That might sound like itís not so bad to you, but to a film critic like me being able to review a bad film is akin to eating a hot fudge sundae. The worse the film the more enjoyable it is to write about. But High Rise was so bad that it was not worth the agony of sitting through it to the end to be able to eat the sundae.

This one was equally bad, if not worse, but I hung in there to the end. Ostensibly it is about two gangs that meet in a warehouse for a drug deal and end up in a gun battle that made the 85 minute run time seem like eternity. This film apparently aimed at the gamer immature teenage mentality minimizes the effects of gunshot wounds and death, just another in a long line of Hollywood films that does not appreciate the danger of presenting violence as something unimportant. Just as an example, when these people get shot, and when some of them die, they make a joke out of it. But getting shot is no joke; nor is dying. They are not funny, and people donít react the way these actors react. Thatís what goes on for most of the 85 minutes, people getting shot and dying but treating the bullet wounds and deaths less seriously than they would a stubbed toe.

Advertised as a comedy, there is nothing remotely humorous in this nihilistic abhorrently violent nonsense whose sole purpose seems to be to desensitize its audience to brutality.

Finally what really infuriated me was the use of John Denver's "Annie's Song" as background. That's one of my favorite songs and if the Denver estate licensed it, they made a big mistake.