Free Guy revolves around virtual reality and looks at what happens when a video game character begins to gain some self-awareness. Echoing The Truman Show in many ways, the film hints at the existential crisis that can result from discovering that one’s world and actions have no real meaning, but it chooses from the start to keep the mood lighthearted and silly.
Guy (Ryan Reynolds) lives in Free City and works in a bank. He leads a very predictable life that sees him repeat the same actions and interact with the same handful of individuals every single day. The peculiar thing about his daily routine is that crime, violence and explosions unfold around him at all times, and giant menacing creatures populate the streets as he goes about his business. Guy is unfazed by this, as well as by the daily robbery that punctually occurs at his workplace. It soon transpires that everyone around Guy is an avatar playing their role in a video game called Free City.
Walter (Joe Keery), the co-founder of the original version of this game, now works for Antwan (Taika Waititi), the profit-obsessed boss of the large company that purchased the rights to the game. Co-founder Millie (Jodie Comer) is against the choice to sell and has thus been cut off from the new project. When she decides to enter the world of Free City as a player, however, she inadvertently causes havoc and discovers that Guy is much more than the average video game character.
The film principally focuses on the colourful, vivid and larger-than-life visual effects. A brief message before it begins, delivered by Reynolds himself, stresses the fact that this movie was made to be enjoyed on the big screen. The viewing experience is, indeed, fun, and practically every frame depicting the video game is visually stimulating. In fact, as a whole, it’s perhaps overstimulating, as there is no break from the relentless buzz. The movie’s eagerness to entertain actually makes it difficult to warm to the characters, and the story beyond the VFX remains superficial and predictable.
Although Reynolds fits the role perfectly and the production ticks all the main boxes for the kind of frivolous entertainment many crave at this time, Free Guy fails to fulfil the potential of the big questions it puts on the plate but never really touches, and it also plays it safe when it comes to the comedy, making it ultimately unsatisfying.
Free Guy is released nationwide on 13th August 2021.
Watch the trailer for Free Guy here: