A Review of Free Guy

The story of a man who realizes he is a background character in a video game hit theatres in the middle of August.


photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios

The newly released film Free Guy was met with a plethora of good reviews from audiences.

Quinn Volpe, Co-Editor-in-Chief

After someone gets pushed out of a window and Guy, played by Ryan Reynolds, says, “Mondays, am I right?” and continues on his way to a job at a city bank that gets violently robbed multiple times a day, I knew Free Guy, directed by Shawn Levy, would be an interesting 115 minutes.

A film that struck me at first as a silly and stereotypical take on the common trope of a man finding himself trapped in a society that he does not accept quickly turned into something more, and that change was what kept me intrigued throughout the duration of the viewing. 

Guy, a background character in a video game called Free City, introduces the viewer to his daily life in which he wakes up and says hello to his goldfish named Goldie, puts on a blue shirt, gets his usual cup of coffee, and heads to his job, full of enthusiasm and exclaiming positively, “Don’t have a good day, have a great day!”

The people in Guy’s world who wear what he calls sunglasses are the players who also live in the real world. After admitting that he has been looking for love, Guy sees a player wearing sunglasses that he immediately knows is “the one.”

Levy allows Guy’s relationship with this player to move the film forward, sparking dramatic conflict and Guy’s slow-burn realization of who he really is.

A film that struck me at first as a silly and stereotypical take on the common trope of a man finding himself trapped in a society that he does not accept quickly turned into something more.

The Free Guy graphics were extremely well-conceived from inside and outside of the video game arena. Even the rare shots of the game from the real world are different yet realistic and look more cartoonish than the perspective that is seen within the game. 

Allusions to media coverage and pop culture that the film’s creators added are an entertaining plus, aside from the moments that present too obviously as product placement. Even in these cases, though, the movie never seems to stray away from its original purpose.

The inclusion of popular gaming streamers like Jacksepticeye, DanTDM, and Ninja make Free Guy more lifelike, making it seem as if the game featured in the movie has reached a level of popularity similar to that of Minecraft and Fortnite

Though this has unfortunately long been an issue in Hollywood, I did have a big problem with how the casting played out racially. While I do think all of the main actors played their characters very well, it stuck out to me that the people of color featured in the film are all only supporting characters, played by Lil Rel Howery and Utkarsh Ambudkar, or the villain of the story, played by Taika Waititi, and their main purpose is to further the development of the characters played by their white counterparts.

On the other hand, Free Guy is surprisingly political at times, including when one character remarks that he doesn’t want to hear a story because it will be “full of white privilege” and another notes that gun violence is not limited to inside the video game. 

After initially criticizing a few other and more irrelevant aspects of the film, any confusion that I had about the plot was cleared up by the time the credits rolled. The cinematic decisions in the movie that I found odd or unnecessary, though they were few and far between, never ruined the movie for me, as they were often humorous rather than a complete waste of time.

Overall, Free Guy is an interesting take on the topic of artificial intelligence in a world that is immersed in technologically more and more every single day.