Kicking the Tweets
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Free Fire (2017)

Thanks to the aughts, “pop culture junky” has morphed from a cute phrase into the diagnosis of acute, collective nostalgia addiction. Is there a better example of art writhing and dying before our glassy eyes than Free Fire, Ben Wheatley’s eightieth-generation Xerox of the Tarantino/Ritchie aesthetic? Stop me if you’ve heard this before: A group of chatty criminals gathers at a warehouse. One of them is a loose cannon who steers the whole deal south in a flash of violence. Some are not who they appear to be. Everyone dies—except the weasel who grabs the money and runs, just as police arrive. Wheatley clumsily substitutes wardrobe for character while playing human misery exclusively for laughs, unwittingly (and unwittily) revealing the limited vocabulary with which he delivers a cannibalized, nothing message. It's tempting to write Free Fire off as hollow, first-person-shooter filmmaking. But that would imply the film is about people.


Listen to Kicking the Seat Podcast #216 for Ian's high-caliber Free Fire chat with Keeping it Reel's David Fowlie!

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