The BFI has announced that Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire will close the London Film Festival, with it’s European premiere on 16th October.
The director has graduated from quirky low-budget British thrillers with little-known casts, such as Down Terrace and Kill List to big-time festival closing with a 1970s, Boston-set thriller, with an all-star international cast, including the Oscar-winning Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Sam Riley, Michael Smiley, Sharlto Copley, Armie Hammer, Enzo Cilenti and Noah Taylor.
Wheatley said he was very proud to be showing the film at the London Film Festival. “To be the closing film is a great honour.” Free Fire is the third of his films to be screened at the LFF, after Sightseers and High Rise.
The festival’s director, Clare Stewart, said that what she described as a “ballsy actioner” continued the ascent of one of the UK’s most dazzling cinematic talents. “Dripping with blood, sweat and irony, Free Fire’s bravura filmmaking pays knowing tribute to the films of Sam Peckinpah and features a terrific cast who clearly relish bringing Wheatley and co-writer Amy Jump’s vivid characters to the screen.” She said the screening would ensure that the 60th edition of the London Film Festival would go out “with a bang!”
The BFI’s Ben Roberts and Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese are among the executive producers of the film, which will be released theatrically in the UK next year. This breaks from the usual tradition of ending the festival with films whose release is imminent enough to qualify for the upcoming awards season; recent previous closing films have included Steve Jobs, Saving Mr Banks, 127 Hours, Slumdog Millionaire, Babel and Good Night, and Good Luck.