‘The Wedding Guest’ is a 2018 film that has recently premiered on Netflix. Helmed by Michael Winterbottom, it stars Dev Patel, Radhika Apte and Jim Sarbh. The British-American action-thriller revolves around a mysterious kidnapping that led to other severe crimes and double-crossing each other.
Jay (Dev Patel) was hired by Deepesh (Jim Sarbh) to kidnap his lover Samira (Radhika Apte) from her wedding in Pakistan. She was forced into that marriage by her family and wanted to escape too. Although she plays the victim first, soon she realises that Jay is her only last hope to be free. During the kidnapping, Jay unintentionally kills the night guard that makes this kidnapping a news headline. Deepesh is an extremely selfish person who doesn’t care about anyone but himself and doesn’t want to meet Samira anymore after this murder. In the end, we will realise that no one is innocent and the three protagonists are selfish enough to choose themselves over the others.
Radhika who convincingly plays the victim at first betrays both men and gets her freedom at the end. She flirts with Jay and gets into an intimate relationship with him during the runaway giving the audience hints of Stockholm syndrome but later she deceives him and runs away with the money and jewels. Her effortless acting gains her a lot of sympathies and she portrays the character absolutely perfectly. Her versatility is showcased once again in this movie. Jay is a vulnerable, emotional and serious antihero who becomes the protector and lover towards the end. He is definitely someone you can trust.
Dev Patel is charismatic as ever who steal hearts for his amazing chemistry with Radhika. Although he is betrayed by Radhika, one feels maybe he wanted that. He never trusted her enough to tell her his real name even after being intimate with her. Even after Radhika left with money and the note, he calls to tell her that he is there if she needs any help. Maybe he never trusted her but loved her enough. There is very little of Jim in the film and you will never know what kind of person he is and what he really wants. He was the one who would leave everything behind for Radhika whereas he is also the one to get murky about the affair and asks Jay to drop her back to Pakistan.
The screenplay of the movie could have been better because it fails to retain the suspense created during the first half. Although every bit of the movie is realistic and it doesn’t get into any unwanted controversy after a point, the movie might seem boring. However, the murder and cremation of Deepesh does seem a bit weird because they get away so easily with it without getting caught. Cinematographer Giles Nuttgens captures the streets and travels to cities and hotels with sharp contrast and from the point of view of a tourist.
The movie is slowed down in several instances. Harry Escott’s music adds to the slowed momentum of the plot. However, the mystery and suspense of the movie deals with something more than kidnapping or a crime thriller. The gender equality, immigration, generation gap with parents, urge and need for money are so subtly presented without any dispute that makes the film binge-worthy. Winterbottom’s unconventional, realistic thriller is more like a documentary and one believes that’s where the movie is successful.
‘The Wedding Guest’ is currently streaming on Netflix.