I got lucky and was invited to the preview screening of Ben Wheatley’s new movie Free Fire at Cinema City in Norwich this week, the evening included a chat afterwards with Ben too. A movie, a glass of wine and exclusive talk from the Director. Nice. Happy me. I hadn’t heard much about this film beforehand but I knew three things; it was by Ben (Kill List and High Rise are two of his films I had already enjoyed) I knew it was set in the 70’s (massive cool points) and I also knew that Cillian Murphy stars in it (swoon)…. so I was anticipating a pretty ace bit of entertainment. Set in the 70’s, this film all takes place in one location, a dusty, derelict warehouse, where Justine who is superbly portrayed by Brie Larson, sets up a meeting between a gun dealer and Irish gang members who wanna buy the weapons. What should be a relatively straightforward exchange of cash for goods, becomes a tense, gripping and hilariously heart stopping game of survival when shots are fired and a free-for-all frenzy erupts. I’m not generally an action movie kinda gal, I tend to lose interest and get bored of the dizzying direction and muddled attacks, but, the sheer simplicity of this film kept me captivated the whole way through. And, it’s really funny, the audience laughed out loud a lot. It’s one and a half hours in the same space, with 10 characters, all of whom are flawlessly played. The styling of the film gives it a dark and muted palette, with hues of gold, dusty sand and sunset 70’s orange. The action isn’t fussy or messy, it’s sharp and witty, it holds your attention rather than making you feel like you’ve been whacked around the head with a rifle 100 times, which some action movies make me feel. When a movie is set in the 70’s it’s usually one of two things, a parody of the era, or absolute coolness; Free Fire is most definitely the latter. We’re seeing 70’s fashion at its very best. The guys are all big collars, plush fabrics and flares. Sharlto Copley as Vernon stands out as a fashion peacock in his pastel blue suit ‘from Saville Row’ who doesn’t wanna get blood splats on his threads! Larson’s Justine parades that classic bohemian meets Farrah Fawcett chic in a teal blazer, jeans, big hair and a neck scarf, it just doesn’t get much cooler than that. When asked why he chose to set this in the era of the 1970’s, Ben said that he had been reading about gun smugglers shipping weapons on the QE2 in the 70’s, from America to Ireland at the height of the IRA reign, and that fascinated him. Also, the lack of mobile phones at that time made his decision; “in an action film like this, if even one person had a mobile phone the story would be fucked” he said. I loved that it was set in this time, it felt truly authentic and had an awesome mix of glamour and grit. I personally would have liked more female characters in the film, but, Larson’s lone female role kicks ass in abundance, she kinda had the female representation covered all by herself. Ben got Martin Scorsese on board to be an executive producer which gives this movie even more prestige; Ben’s playing with the big boys now. Ben explained that he read of Scorsese complimenting one of his films and got to meet up with him, Scorsese then offered to get involved with his next project. Hell yes. What a guy. Free Fire is very slick, very fast, very seductive of your senses and is very, very cool.