“The Wedding Guest” In Theaters March 1st
Michael Winterbottom’s international thriller “The Wedding Guest” could have been a superb heart-pounding thriller and the first few scenes begin with great promise. Jay(handsome Dev Patel) is seen preparing for a trip, and by the contents of his purchase, (duct tape, a gun, and rope) we can surmise something not so good is about to go down. When Jay arrives in Pakistan, he travels to a small village where pre-wedding festivities have begun. He cases the home at night checking on the strength of the security. Later that night returning to kidnap the bride to be Samira(Radhika Apte).
He gags and blindfolds her and drags her out of the home only to run into the security guard. As the guard tries to abort the kidnapping, Jay shoots him. Once away from the village we learn that Samira’s ex-boyfriend (played by Jim Sarbh) hired Jay to rescue her from an arranged marriage. Once out of the area, we find out Samira is in on the plot but things fall apart when they find out the security guard is dead and the police are looking for Samira.
The film has an edgy tone, and we see the hidden side of shady underground black market dealings in Pakistan and India as Jay negotiates for fake ids and passport for them to get back to England. The film also showed a great sense of diversity and layered fabric of an exotic country taking the audience from sleazy alleys to the beautiful countryside and stunning ocean views.
With stakes, high one would think the film would propel forward in a tense and thrilling speed, but ultimately it’s tone shifted to feel more like a love story between the Jay and Samira. I would have liked to see a more damaged character in Jay’s persona that would want him to take the risk of falling in love. Samira (Radhika Apte) had me second guessing because you never knew her real motivation.
I wanted the pace and the chase to be more compelling and nerve-racking to keep me guessing. Dev Patel has the potential to be a legendary action star, and I look forward to seeing him in a film that will take to him to that level.
“The Wedding Guest” is not a bad film, and there are moments of real suspense just not enough of them.
“The Wedding Guest” stars Dev Patel, Radhika Apte, and Jim Sarbh and written and directed by Michael Winterbottom it opens Friday, March 1st, 2019 in New York and Los Angeles.”
Reviewed by Joy Parris