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  • Writer's pictureOli Law

Free Guy ★★★★★

Shawn Levy

Starring Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Lil Rel Howery, Joe Keery, Taika Waititi

Flying way under the release radar, Free Guy starring Ryan Reynolds brings the joys of video gaming to the big screen with a heartfelt message that registers on so many levels.

Guy (Reynolds) is an ordinary happy-go-lucky ‘guy’ who lives his life in a mundane loop, until he discovers that his home, Free City, is an online battleground. But unbeknown to him, he is a background character in a video game, and will stop at nothing to impress the girl of his dreams: Millie (a player of the game in the real world played by Jodie Comer).

Reynolds shines as this cheery vessel that has the ability to carry gamers and non-gamers alike through this unique concept. His performance is akin to Will Ferrell’s iconic Buddy the Elf, and delivers just as much wit, heart and charisma throughout.

The supporting cast are equally perfectly selected for their roles with some other notable highlights being Comers dual role as Millie and Molotov Girl (her online persona), Joe Keery as Keys (her ex partner) and his boss - the villainous Antwan, gloriously encapsulated by Taika Waititi who you can’t help but love all the same.

Free City is as crazy and beautiful as it’s leading star. Perfectly displaying the stunning world we’ve come to expect from triple A video games and drawing you in from the start. Whenever outside of the game, you’ll be forgiven for wanting to dive back in; but the real world reinforces the stakes and plot as much as the game world needs to tell its story well.

As a gamer myself, topics such as streaming, multiplayer and NPCs were not dumbed down to account for the average movie goer who wouldn’t understand the premise, but rather explained tastefully in a way that would make Great Aunt Bessy want to log in and get to work.

The main word I would use for Free Guy is ‘surprising’. From the outside it looked like a carbon copy of Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One; but Free Guy is so much more unique and heartfelt that further pushes the meaning of life to the point where you walk away feeling empowered, inspired and fully entertained. I would go as far as to say that this is Ryan Reynolds' best role, and it is certainly my film of 2021 so far.

Free Guy available in cinemas now

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