Free Fire is set in Boston in 1978. The story, which Wheatley is pitching as a muscular crime flick in the spirit of Jean-Pierre Melville (Le Samouraï), Howard Hawks (The Big Sleep), Walter Hill (The Driver) and Martin Scorsese (The Wolf Of Wall Street), charts the fallout from a gun-running hook-up orchestrated by Brie Larson (The Spectacular Now) in a deserted warehouse. At its centre are two Irishmen (Cillian Murphy and Michael Smiley), on a connect with a pair of arms traffickers, Ord (Armie Hammer) and Vernon (Sharlto Copley), but soon wishing they had 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 told Variety earlier this year. "The Asphalt Jungle (1950), The Big Sleep (1946), The Killing (1956) and The Big Combo (1955) through The Driver (1978), Le Samouraï (1967) and The French Connection (1971), to the modern cycle of Goodfellas (1990), Casino (1995), Hard Boiled (1992) and Reservoir Dogs (1992).
"It will take you and stick you in the middle of the action," he elaborated. "I want the film to have the stylish, no-nonsense feel that you get in Peckinpah's The Getaway (1972). It's a modern '70s movie. Muscular, tough and spare."
Free Fire will arrive in UK cinemas on 31 March.