Free Fire

Rated 4.0

After last year’s bloody, disturbing social satire High-Rise, Ben Wheatley and Amy Jump’s (he directs and co-writes; she co-writes and edits) single-set action film Free Fire feels less substantial, yet remains just as claustrophobically engrossing. In 1970s New York, Cillian Murphy and his gang of Irish criminals seek to purchase guns from a squawking arms trader played by Sharlto Copley (cinema’s CHAPPiE), while the group’s respective go-betweens (Brie Larson and Armie Hammer) try to keep the peace. After a couple of hotheaded underlings fight and shots are fired, the rest of the film turns into a chaotic, gruesome and borderline slapstick gun battle in the center of an abandoned factory floor. The hard-boiled, insult-comic dialogue might sometimes lean a little closer to Guy Ritchie than Quentin Tarantino, but the energy and momentum are undeniable—the film has a way of relentlessly slicing forward every time you expect it to stagnate. D.B.