Creating content directly or indirectly linked to the world of videogames can have two effects: to please only the public inserted in that ‘niche’ or – if they are very good – to catch the attention of the general public. A magnificent example of the latter could well be “Free Guy”, A film that just recently premiered on the platform Star+.
The plot of the tape is as follows. Free City is a world-wide video game created by the Soonami corporation in which everything takes place with a peaceful normality: Villains, policemen, weapons, explosions, but above all, abundant NPCs (non-playable characters) are the attraction of adults and children in different countries.
Within this last group, that is, the NPCs, there are not only men who walk around reading their newspaper or baristas, but also Guy (Ryan Reynolds), a bank teller who gets up very early and, after greeting his gold fish He repeats monotonously and without questioning anything that happens around him. Until something comes to stir your thoughts.
Here is the first detail. For anyone who has at least had the opportunity to watch a video game throughout their life, it is clear that these NPCs are elementally basic: they only walk from one side to another, they fall if we push them or, failing that, they repeat phrases mechanically if we dare to touch them. Well, Guy is not satisfied with this and, after meeting the beautiful Millie (Jodie Comer), the avatar of a flesh and blood player, decides to question everything in front of him.
By now it is inevitable to associate “Free Guy” with “The Truman Show”, that questioning film starring Jim Carrey (also a Canadian actor like Ryan Reynolds. Not a minor detail) in 1998. In the film directed by Peter Weir , Truman (a boy born inside a bubble) reaches adulthood unaware that everything around him is a reality TV show. This until he falls in love with a woman who rebukes him for his mediocrity and encourages him to debate what surrounds him.
Although in “Free Guy” we clearly speak of algorithms – that is, of people who do not exist – and in “The Truman Show” of actors who in exchange for a salary are part of the minute by minute exposure of the life of a short man the ‘four walls’ of Seahaven (city / television set), the truth is that in both proposals the idea of free will is very present, but above all the almost voyeuristic obsession of many of us when trying to dominate almost completely what we believe is ours.
The world of gamers is clearly reflected in Shawn Levy’s film. From amateurs to those who took the big leap and, taking advantage of their skills, are capable of creating successful video games. For example, in Soonami – the giant in charge of creating Free City that ends on embers when seeing how an NPC ‘steals the show’ and captivates its millions of users – except for the boss Antwan (Taika Waititi), all are boys with particular skills for the development of entertainment products.
When we see all these details, we forget that the protagonist of this film fell on an actor who at 45 has established himself with remarkable naturalness in Hollywood. That young heartthrob from “The Proposal” (2009) has taken several safe steps to become who he is today. It is worth remembering that without his humor and self-confidence “Deadpool” might not be the success that it finally was. Well, in “Free Guy”, the Canadian does not disappoint. We therefore adhere to what the New York Times sentenced days ago: Reynolds makes Guy seem at times like a “Deadpool Lite”, which guarantees us very good moments for a film that is certainly not short (1 hour and 55 minutes).
In the final part of this analysis it would be unfair to leave out the human factor in “Free Guy”. Although we are facing holograms that “revive” monotonously after dying with shots in the chest or in the middle of an explosion, it is not out of place to mention that behind each character there is a player of flesh and blood, who gets excited when fighting a game until the end. Also, of course, there are young people who fall in love and are able to dedicate beautiful thoughts.
For his wisdom in showing the ‘gamer’ world, for the fine humor of its protagonist, for the feelings that those who seem to be nothing more than ‘geeks’ hide behind a laptop, and because it reminds us of the best moments of Truman Burbank Trying to know what freedom is behind the false walls of Seaheaven, “Free Guy” is a pleasant experience, far superior to other film forays into the world of videogames such as Pixels or Ready Player One.
Synopsis: A bank teller discovers that he is actually a secondary player in an open world video game, and decides to become the hero of his own story… one written by himself. Now, in a world where limits don’t exist, he’s determined to be the man to save his world in his own way … before it’s too late.
Duration: 1 hour and 55 minutes long
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