Free Guy Movie Review Rating: 3.5 out of 5.0 stars
Star Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Joe Keery, Lil Rel Howery, Taika Waititi, Utkarsh Ambudkar
Director: Shawn Levy
What’s Good: This is one of those movies you watch because ‘just’ & fall in love with it, a great snack-munching film which has Ryan Reynolds
What’s Bad: It doesn’t maintain a similar pace throughout which is okay because Ryan Reynolds makes sure to be funny all the time (as he’s IRL)
Loo Break: Neahhhhhh!
Watch or Not?: Even if you’re not into video games, you need to be in this one
We land into ‘Free City’ where an ‘ordinary’ Guy (Ryan Reynolds) takes us through his daily routine in which he wakes up greeting his fish, gets a coffee, does his job of a bank-teller & repeats it again the next day. Getting the ‘loop’ of the situation, things clear about Guy being an ‘NPC’ (Non-Playing Character) of a game titled ‘Free City’ which is partially stolen from an unreleased game ‘Life Itself’.
Millie Rusk (Jodie Comer) & Keys (Joe Keery) co-creators of ‘Life Itself’ are exploring ‘Free City’ to find any clue of their stolen code in the game. Millie’s gaming character Molotov meets with Guy who falls for her at first sight, and they both get together to prove Millie & Keys (in the real world) own the game.
Free Guy Movie Review: Script Analysis
Matt Lieberman’s story smartly mashes up the shades of Truman Burbank in the world of Ready Player One. He sketches the idea of ‘ordinary guys’ & ‘guys with sunglasses’ to draw parallels with helpless & powerful people in real life. Video game movies have proved to be a difficult nut to crack but this one will find a place of its own.
This comes the closest to showcase an authentic reflection of the real world in a game. From Wrecking Ball to Avengers, Star Wars & even ‘gun violence’, Lieberman’s story is flooded with elements reminding you of how it’s not just a game you’re a part of. Characters following a single mission do get stretched in the second half but the Lieberman & Zak Penn’s screenplay holds the intrigue by introducing many cool things on the go.
The concept of seeing the world with a HUD (Heads Up Display) is loaded with a lot of good VFX-play. What makes this stand out from other video game films is its special connection to the real world outside. Loved the way how George Richmond maintains a slight difference in his camerawork when the is characters are in the game VS when they are outside it. You can feel the contrast in the FPS (frames per second) as they slightly differ in the game world.
Free Guy Movie Review: Star Performance
It’s not like no one else apart from Ryan Reynolds could’ve done Free Guy, but no one else apart from him could’ve done this better. Though you wish Guy to just blurt out some R-rated jokes like Deadpool he’s limited by being a good guy. Though the writers have smartly given him some savage lines without affecting his ‘good guy’ image. Still, many lines lacked impact & there was a whole lot of scope of giving so many of them to Reynolds.
Jodie Comer holds her ground despite a groundbreaking performance by Reynolds. Continuing her ‘Killing Eve’ streak, she plays two similar characters inside & outside the game. This, I thought could’ve been played around by giving some contrasting touches to both of her characters instead of keeping them mostly the same. Just a random thought, but Jodie kills it despite few flaws.
Joe Keery as Keys doesn’t get much on his plate playing a sidekick to Josie’s Millie. His character contributes a lot to a major plot of the story but the build is too weak to give a satisfying closure. Lil Rel Howery is designed to be what Ned is to Peter Parker but doesn’t get enough dough to play around.
Taika Waititi once again proves why he can be as good an actor matching how brilliant a director he is. He just takes the quirks of his character and makes them funny without going overboard. Utkarsh Ambudkar fits the bill as Mouser and not for once looks out of the place.
Free Guy Movie Review: Direction, Music
Shawn Levy totally gets into the Edgar Wright/Guy Ritchie zone for this one & he doesn’t disappoint for a major part. The monophonic treatment to the second half does take some impact on the grip which has been maintained since the start. But the finale doesn’t disappoint landing right at the target making it a fun & fast film to watch.
Did I miss Junkie XL’s thumping BGM for this one? Yes, I did. Was Christophe Beck bad at his job? He wasn’t particularly bad but not also the best for a soundtrack that demands a lot of rock & electronic music. Yes, Beck has backed some good projects like Antman films, WandaVision, and Frozen 2 but XL would’ve been a bingo choice for this one.
Free Guy Movie Review: The Last Word
All said and done, Free Guy at its core is a simple, breezy video game movie that ends in a blink without making much noise, but it comes with a lot of exploration to be done under the base. The motto of ‘we can do whatever we want’ is sewed beautifully into the intriguing sub-plots of the film, you just have to read between the lines.
Three and a half stars!
Free Guy Trailer
Free Guy releases on 13th September 2021.
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Read the review of Chris Pratt’s The Tomorrow War if you’re into alien-flicks!