30th Jul2019

‘The Wedding Guest’ VOD Review

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Stars: Dev Patel, Radhika Apte, Jim Sarbh, Nish Nathwani, Harish Khanna, Sidhu Manpreet, Meherbaan Singh | Written and Directed by Michael Winterbottom

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The Wedding Guest is directed by Michael Winterbottom and stars Dev Patel as Jay, a mysterious man who is travelling to Pakistan from Britain to attend a wedding with ulterior motives. Winterbottom’s film, while a decent effort is a largely missed opportunity to discuss a range of divisive and compelling themes on culture/social gender politics. Instead, the audience is treated to a simplistic thriller that is best described as a quick fix of sorts.

The Wedding Guest is mostly flat. It is a film that begins in an intriguing mysticism and soon turns into a conventional passionate love story that does not feel earned nor granted for this specific plot. Where The Wedding Guest flourishes is when it plays its hand at mysticism. The film has tension and atmosphere of the unknown and plays with the theme to its strength. The opening is rather terrific. It is subtle tense and restraint with how it conveys information and therefore, the plot in minuscule details of hiding phones, or passports. It is an engaging and immersive structure but soon falls foul to over expositional dialogue that reveals far too much narrative for its own good.

As soon as The Wedding Guest opens up, it loses all grasp on what it could or can be — losing sight in particular of the societal, political underbelly that is dying to be examined and expressed but is ultimately blown over for small instances of cheap thrills. Made more unfortunate is that there is not much excuse not to have it included, or at least absorbed due to the lean running time of just over ninety-three minutes, the fact that theirs a great deal of repetitive ambience included within the picture that could easily have been removed for more substance.

Patel puts forward a well-established performance as the leading character of Jay. Throughout he remains with the enigmatic quality of what makes his character tick in the opening act. He has sizeable and sufficient screen presence and slowly but inevitably begins to fit an action star role. If anything, it undoubtedly puts forward the idea that Dev Patel would and could make a terrific James Bond in the future.

The Wedding Guest is available to rent or buy digitally in the UK now.

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