Ben Wheatley’s last film, High Rise, which you can find me enjoying the hell out of here, was a huge step up for the director, and his next will be another leap again.
Free Fire, which Empire posted the first image from today, is his first film set in the US and sees him assemble an impressive cast of Cillian Murphy, Michael Smiley, Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, Sam Riley and Enzo Cilenti.
What’s more, it’s being executive produced by Martin Scorsese, who is the man you want to have on board when making a 70s crime drama and was one of Wheatley’s directorial inspirations for the movie.
Free Fire is set in Boston in 1978, centring on the fallout from a gun-running deal gone wrong brokered by Larson’s character in a deserted warehouse. On one side is two Irishmen (Murphy and Smiley), on the other a pair of arms traffickers (Hammer and Shalto Copley).
If it also sounds a little Tarantino, it’s for good reason.
“The idea for Free Fire came from my love of hard-boiled crime movies,” Wheatley told Variety. “The Asphalt Jungle, The Big Sleep, The Killing and The Big Combo through The Driver, Le Samourai and The French Connection, to the modern cycle of GoodFellas, Casino, Hard Boiled and Reservoir Dogs.”
“It will take you and stick you in the middle of the action. I want the film to have the stylish, no-nonsense feel that you get in [Sam] Peckinpah’s The Getaway. It’s a modern ‘70s movie. Muscular, tough and spare.”
Wheatley reteams with long-serving writing collaborator Amy Jump for the film, which is on sale at Cannes this month, with UK and US theatrical release dates to follow.