Free Fire (2016)

Free Fire
Director: Ben Wheatley
Writer: Amy Jump, Ben Wheatley
Cast: Enzo CilentiSam RileyMichael SmileyBrie LarsonCillian MurphyArmie HammerSharlto CopleyBabou CeesayNoah TaylorJack Reynor
Seen on: 17.9.2017
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Plot:
Bernie (Enzo Cilento) and his brother Stevo (Sam Riley) are meeting with IRA guys Chris (Cillian Murphy) and Frank (Michael Smiley) and their American contact Justine (Brie Larson). They are preparing for a weapons deal mediated by Ord (Armie Hammer) who got them in touch with South African arms dealer Vernon (Sharlto Copley) and his group – Martin (Babou Ceesay), Harry (Jack Reynor) and Gordon (Noah Taylor). But things quickly go sideways and turn very bloody.

Free Fire starts off strong enough, but after a while it becomes so repetitive, it loses all tempo and becomes nothing but dreary.

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High-Rise (2015)

High-Rise
Director: Ben Wheatley
Writer: Amy Jump
Based on: J.G. Ballard‘s novel
Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Luke Evans, Elisabeth Moss, James Purefoy, Keeley Hawes, Peter FerdinandoAugustus Prew
Seen on: 18.7.2016

Plot:
Laing (Tom Hiddleston) just moved to the 25th floor of a new apartment building. That building is equipped with pretty much everything and follows a very hierarchical structure. Soon Laing meets his neighbors. The alluring Charlotte (Sienna Miller) lives on the floor above him, documentary film maker Richard Wilder (Luke Evans) on the lower floors, together with his family. At the very top there is the architect and owner of the entire building, Royal (Jeremy Irons). Laing hopes to rise through the ranks and thus up the floors, but unrest starts brewing in the building more and more.

High-Rise is very stylish in many ways and definitely an interesting film, but it didn’t quite blow me away. Still there’s a whole lot going on that’s worth looking at.

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A Field in England (2013)

A Field in England
Director: Ben Wheatley
Writer: Ben Wheatley, Amy Jump
Cast: Reece Shearsmith, Michael Smiley, Julian Barratt, Richard Glover, Peter Ferdinando, Ryan Pope, Sara Dee
Part of: /slash Filmfestival

Plot:
A group of soldiers, among them alchemist Whitehead (Reece Shearsmith), flee from a battle in the English Civil War into a seemingly empty field where they are captured by O’Neil (Michael Smiley) who is looking for gold and wants to use Whitehead for that. But things are not at all simple in that field.

Ben Wheatley’s movies and I, we don’t have a very loving relationship. But I think that I might have likes A Field in England even less than Kill List. I didn’t think that was possible but this movie was just crappy.

afieldinengland

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The ABCs of Death (2012)

The ABCs of Death
Director: Kaare Andrews, Angela Bettis, Hélène Cattet, Ernesto Díaz Espinoza, Jason Eisener, Bruno Forzani, Adrián García Bogliano, Xavier Gens, Lee Hardcastle, Noboru Iguchi, Thomas Cappelen Malling, Jorge Michel Grau, Anders Morgenthaler, Yoshihiro Nishimura, Banjong Pisanthanakun, Simon Rumley, Marcel Sarmiento, Jon Schnepp, Srdjan Spasojevic, Timo Tjahjanto, Andrew Traucki, Nacho Vigalondo, Jake West, Ti West, Ben Wheatley, Adam Wingard, Yudai Yamaguchi
Part of: /slash Filmfestival‘s Slashing Europe
[I’m saving myself from mentioning the cast as well, especially since, apart from Ingrid Bolsø Berdal there wasn’t anybody in it I knew anyway.]

Plot:
The ABCs of Death is an episode movie in which 26 directors each got a letter in the alphabet to which they chose a word from which they built their story/short film.

The ABCs of Death has its good moments, but far from all episodes were my thing. There is a surprising amount of toilet humor in the movie (which I minded less than I usually do, but still) and I generally had my issues with the structure. 26 short films are a lot to take in and I would have appreciated if the movie was broken up into two parts (A-L and M-Z or something). Also, because of the alphabetic structure, they couldn’t take the mood or the pacing into consideration, so funny is followed by sadness by gore by blood by horror by funny etc. So maybe one should be watching the entire movie in short film increments.

The-ABCs-of-Death

[After the jump, I’ll talk briefly about each of the short films seperately. If you consider knowing the words already as SPOILERS, don’t read any further.]

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Sightseers (2012)

Sightseers
Director: Ben Wheatley
Writer: Alice Lowe, Steve Oram, Amy Jump
Cast: Alice Lowe, Steve Oram, Eileen Davies
Part of: Viennale

Plot:
Tina (Alice Lowe) has spent her life taking care of her old, sick and pretty mean mother Carol (Eileen Davies). But then she meets Chris (Steve Oram) and the two of them really hit it off. Chris and Tina decide to go on a sightseeing trip together – just the two of them, a caravan and the major sights in the UK, like the pencil museum. Leaving Carol behind, they are off. But soon things start to go a little sour and Chris has to take drastic and bloody measures to keep the trip from being spoiled.

Sightseers was all over the place, unfortunately. It didn’t feel like they knew where they were going with the story, or even what kind of mood they would like to tell it in. So it swerves from macabre humor to exhausting fighting and neither really pays off.

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Kill List (2011)

Kill List
Director: Ben Wheatley
Writer: Ben Wheatley, Amy Jump
Cast: Neil Maskell, MyAnna BuringMichael Smiley, Emma Fryer
Part of: /slash Filmfestival

Plot:
Jay (Neil Maskell) is an ex-soldier who has been home for a while. Things are not good with his wife Shel (MyAnna Buring), their money is running out and the tension is rising. When their friend and Jay’s army buddy Gal (Michael Smiley) offers Jay the possibility to take a well-paid job, Jay reluctantly agrees. They get hired by a mysterious client to assassinate three people. But things get very weird really quickly.

Kill List is an excellent film until they start to turn the film into one giant mindfuck. I’m unimpressed by mindfucks for mindfucking’s sake. This one’s no exception.

[SPOILERS]

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