Free Guy

Free Guy ★★★★★

Quick thoughts:

Free Guy is a sci-fi action comedy directed and produced by Shawn Levy from a screenplay written by Matt Lieberman and Zack Penn. When a bank teller named Guy, played by Ryan Reynolds, discovers he's actually a background player in an open-world video game, he decides to become the hero of his own story -- one that he can rewrite himself. In a world where there's no limits, he's determined to save the day his way before it's too late, and maybe find a little romance with the coder who conceived him. Look, it would be all too easy to draw comparisons to The Truman Show, of which there are plenty, but that movie has been around long enough to inspire at least a dozen other stories with a similar premise. Free Guy is a great movie standing on the shoulders of an all-time classic, but that's not the only reason why it works. The main reason it works is because it's the perfect synthesis of everyone's strengths. Reynolds, as both the leading man and a producer on the film, knows exactly what his strengths are, and with the help of Shawn Levy's incredible direction and a surprisingly sweet script written by Matt Lieberman and Zack Penn, they all bring out the best in each other. As someone who sits on the outside of the gaming community, I can understand certain criticism they may have concerning its rose-tinted depiction, despite cameos from a number of popular streamers. For me, my biggest takeaway from the film is how much it rejects cynicism on all fronts. Within the world of the video game, Guy rejects his mere existence as a non-player character in a hyper violent first-person shooter, and our two human protagonists Joe Keery as Walter "Keys" McKeys and Jodie Comer as Millie Rusk (Molotov Girl in the game) reject the idea of selling out to a major gaming corporation, aiming instead to create something with more ambition. Also, this turns out to be a really sweet love story, even when things get weird. There's more I want to say about the film, but that's breaching spoiler territory, and I'll elaborate on that later. For now, the last thing I want to mention is Christophe Beck's terrific score, and my new found appreciation for "Fantasy" by Mariah Carey. We're still in a pandemic, so as long as you feel comfortable going to a theater, please see Free Guy as soon as you can!