WHAT: The first trailer for Free Fire, a prestige shoot-’em-up currently playing at the Toronto International Film Festival.
WHO: Director Ben Wheatley and a cast that includes Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, and Sharlto Copley.
WHY WE CARE: The promising concept of Free Fire is that the entire runtime concentrates on one epic warehouse shoot-out during an underground arms deal. The problem, however, at least from the looks of the first trailer, is that in the midst of highly stylized, ’70s-set carnage, all this gunfighting is portrayed with detached glibness. Quentin Tarantino and Shane Black can wring laughs out of flesh wounds and killshots when they dole out their dark humor in the right dosage, but in this movie the jokey violence looks scattershot. “A key pleasure of Free Fire is the wisecracking back-and-forth between characters who aim to wound each other with words as well as bullets, literally adding insult to injury,” says Hollywood Reporter in a mixed review. What that amounts to in the trailer, though, is people on the same side shooting each other in the shoulder or leg as, like, an argumentative point. Bullets have never felt lighter or less consequential, and at a time when that just may not be the right message to impart on viewers.