Free Guy (AU - M/UK - 12A/US - PG-13)

In a Word: Boisterous

Free Guy

Guy (Ryan Reynolds) is perhaps the most positive person you've ever met. Guy, who works at "The Bank", is regularly confronted with abuse and violence in his daily life but it consistently fails to put a dent in his outlook ("Don't have a good day; have a great day" is his mantra).

"There's obvious similarities with The Truman Show and we also catch some glimpses of more recent films like The Lego Movie (remember "Everything is Awesome!"?) and Ready Player One while gamers will spot plenty of references to the, often violent, online worlds they inhabit. Reynolds pretty much steals the show - he was born for this role - but he's well backed-up by Comer and Keery while uncredited character in the pantheon of actors are the CGI effects which play a central role in propelling the story forward."

All that changes, however (and it's no spoiler to say this as it's the premise of the entire film), when he becomes aware - thanks to his interest in an enigmatic woman he initially knows as 'Molotov Girl' (played by Jodie Comer) - his life is actually playing out inside a video game called Free City. And worse still, that while players who, like Molotov Girl, can do whatever they like (they're defined by their wearing of sunglasses), he is actually an NPC, a non-player character, whose life operates within strictly defined parameters.

Guy's "awakening" to the truth of his situation soon himself at the centre of a struggle between the game's original creators - Millie (Molotov Girl's real-world name) and a coder named Keys (Joe Keery) - and the self-obsessed, all about the money, tech-titan Antwan (New Zealander Taika Waititi) who now owns the game through his company and who's constantly looking for the best way to make a quick buck out of it. 

There's obvious similarities with The Truman Show and we also catch some glimpses of more recent films like The Lego Movie (remember "Everything is Awesome!"?) and Ready Player One while gamers will spot plenty of references to the, often violent, online worlds they inhabit. Reynolds pretty much steals the show - he was born for this role - but he's well backed-up by Comer and Keery along with the uncredited character in the film - the CGI effects which play a central role in propelling the story forward.

There's plenty here for deeper reflection for those who want to look beyond the glamour of the effects - a commentary on the gratuitous violence seen in so much of the gaming world as well as the wrestle with the idea of what it means to be truly free, for example.

But nothing's taken too seriously in what amounts to a funny, visually exciting and not too challenging film. A diverting on screen experience.