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Film Review: FREE GUY

Free Guy stars Ryan Reynolds – an non-player character who discovers he can change his own world for the better. 

  • Genre – Comedy/ Action
  • Released – 2021

The Plot

Free Guy is about Guy; a non-playable character in the popular MMORPG Free City. 

This city is a mix between Grand Theft Auto and Fortnite. 

Spending most of his days in a programmed loop as a banker who keeps on getting robbed by other players, he ends up becoming self aware when he comes into contact with Molotov Girl (Jodie Comer).  

Together they must save Free City from being shut down by its own designer, the egotistical Antwan (Taika Waititi). 


The video game element

Hollywood and the video game industry have an odd relationship…

Hollywood has been trying to adapt video games. A lot of classic video games have been influenced by many great movies (Donkey Kong, Metal Gear, Payday) and there have been a lot of movies about video games, from Wreck-It Ralph and Ready Player One to the recent Jumanji movies, and Free Guy belongs in that group. 

The themes of artificial intelligence and how it’s examined in regards to Guy is clever – especially in the film’s video game setting, which is captured extremely well. 

When most movies discuss video games or use its aesthetics, it’s usually classic games. For example, Jumanji sequels are influenced by old sixth generation game. But Free Guy is going a modern style, as mentioned before it’s like Fortnite or GTA Online. If you’ve seen those types of games you will appreciate the filmmakers have clearly done their research. 

The film is possibly one of the first big Hollywood blockbusters to be about the making of video games, especially in how they are made. 

If you’ve been following the news recently you probably heard of how certain game companies treat their workers in the making of their games (cough crunchtime cough) and how that leads to games that are a bit undercooked (cough Cyberpunk cough). 
This is shown by Taika Waititi’s Antwan, a video game designer who is full of himself and envelops many negative traits among the modern game industry in some regards. That part of the film was one of my favourite and how it manages to fit into the rest of the film without dragging it out was great. 

The Performances 

The film has to perform a spinning plate trick in focusing on several different plot points; Guy being self-aware, Millie searching for a MacGuffin, and what’s happening with the game developers.

The film manages to make it all fit in it’s runtime of one hour and 55 minutes and not make it feel rushed. Pretty impressive. 

I had my doubts on Ryan Reynolds playing the average Guy (pun intended) role at first. Again, nothing against Reynolds, he’s a great actor, but his screen persona of a guy who knows he’s in a movie wouldn’t fit in this type of story. But, he blew me away. 

He plays Guy with a more eeriness personality and the actor sells it really well – probably a career best from him. 

Joining him, Jodie Comer plays double duty in two roles. She plays an inversion of her Killing Eve role as a videogame designer and the actress plays a game avatar. 

Taika Waititi is a lot of fun as Antwan, but he’s not in the film much. This is surprising given that he’s the main antagonist of the film. However, he manages to steal the show and there is a cameo who’s a lot of fun in their scenes. 

Final Thoughts?

Free Guy is a fun romp of a film that manages to bounce between funny family comedy to serious sci-fi, but not too seriously.

This film is a lot more than the sum of its parts. It manages to spin several different thematic plates and doesn’t drop a single one. It’s probably one of the best films about video games. 

I would recommend you go see this film in a cinema if you’re fully vaccinated, but if you’re still apprehensive or haven’t taken the vaccine yet, it’s okay if you wait for a VOD release.   

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