World first look at Ben Wheatley's Free Fire

The next Ben Wheatley movie, Free Fire, is his first to be set in the US and is likely to be his most visceral and crunching to date. Maybe his most thrilling too, if it lives up to its inspirations and its exec-producer, Martin Scorsese. We’re happy to be able to share a first look below, showing one lot of its crims - Cillian Murphy, Michael Smiley, Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, Sam Riley, Enzo Cilenti - as they go about their shady business in late ‘70s Massachusetts.

Free-Fire

Free Fire is set in Boston in 1978. The story, which Wheatley is pitching as a muscular crime flick in the spirit of Melville, Hawks, Scorsese himself and Walter Hill, charts the fallout from a gun-running hook-up orchestrated by Larson in a deserted warehouse. At its centre are two Irishmen (Murphy and Smiley), on a connect with a pair of arms traffickers, Ord (Hammer) and Vernon (Sharlto Copley), but soon wishing they’d given the whole enterprise a wide berth when the bullets start flying. Cue a desperate battle for survival.

“The idea for Free Fire came from my love of hard-boiled crime movies,” Wheatley tells 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,” he elaborates. “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.”

Written by Wheatley and Amy Jump, Free Fire will be one of the big sales at Cannes this month. UK and US release dates shouldn’t be too far off - watch this space for more.