Saturday, March 12, 2022

Free Guy

Movie Name:
Free Guy
Year of Release: 2021
Director: Shawn Levy
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Joe Keery, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Taika Waititi, Lil Rel Howery, Channing Tatum, Aaron W Reed, Britne Oldford, Camille Kostek, Mark Lainer, Mike Devine
Genre: Comedy, Adventure
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6
View Trailer

Synopsis and Review:
Producer/Director Shawn Levy has kept himself quite busy since his previous directorial release "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb" which came out in 2014. Since then he has directed (and produced) episodes of the successful "Stranger Things" for Netflix, and also other shows, which includes "Imaginary Mary". "Free Guy" which was originally slated to premiere in 2020, and got delayed due to the pandemic, is based on a screen story by Matt Lieberman and Zak Penn, and was actually part of the Black List, an annual list that is typically released of the best un-produced screenplays. The narrative focuses on Guy, an every day bank teller, who has a rather mundane and repetitive life, which suddenly changes when he crosses paths with Millie/Molotovgirl. His infatuation with her, forces him to change his habits, and he suddenly realizes his world is a lot more than it seems. Turns out he lives in a video game, he is an AI, whereas Millie/Molotovgirl is an actual person, more so, one of the authors of an application whose code is being used to sustain the world Guy lives in. In order to get Millie's attention Guy starts learning the mechanics of the game, and consistently winning points, until he is able to get to her, and understand why she keeps back to the game and what is it she so desperately wants to get from it.
"Free Guy" has the immediate benefit from having Ryan Reynolds headlining its narrative, in a role that combines his natural comedic abilities, with a certain level of innocence that his character Guy exhibits, only an innocence that reads more like obliviousness and not so much creepiness (something that "Forrest Gump" for instance always borderlines on). It's a film that doesn't take itself very seriously, treating most of its characters and narrative like a massive game, providing just enough of character dimension and motivation to keep the engagement going. While the human characters are scarcely defined, what happens in the game, particularly when Guy is involved, turns out to be quite entertaining since him, much like ourselves the viewers, are discovering the rules of the game and what he can actually do in that world. It's a film where there are some interesting side remarks/criticism on the lack of scruples that is somewhat associated with some Tech companies, the same going for the world of online gaming and social media, but it's so cleverly imbued into the narrative, that it never feels very heavy handed or out of place. Ultimately it's a breezy and well executed comedy, which could have benefited from some additional character work, but one that is nonetheless worth watching, with a solid leading performance from Ryan Reynolds. The production team is impeccable, with highlights going to the cinematography from George Richmond, the score from Christophe Beck and the visual effects teams. Worth watching.