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The Unbearable Loudness of Gunfire: An Interview with Ben Wheatley

It’s probably fitting that Free Fire didn’t get a fair shake at the box office, if only because it seems destined, if not conceived outright, for a spot in the “underappreciated cult classic canon.” While the film, boasting an A-list cast led by Brie Larson, would appear to be co-writer/director Ben Wheatley’s most commercial film to date, Free Fire winds up shooting its way so far through the mainstream action genre that it winds up back in arthouse territory. The ‘70s-set plot involves an arms deal in an abandoned warehouse gone horribly wrong, but the particulars aren’t especially important. What is important is that Wheatley takes just about every Die Hard-style action movie trope to its furthest limit. Remember the scenes of John McClane dragging his bloodied torso around the Nakatomi Plaza? Well, pretty much every character spends most of the movie doing that, except in far more excruciating detail.

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