Movie Review: 'The Wedding Guest'

John Thomas

Jay (Dev Patel) is a highly organized and focused man. In packing a suitcase, he places his things inside, neatly folded and arranged. He is so meticulous in his demeanor that when he places his mobile phone in the top drawer of a bureau before closing it, we have an indication that there may be sinister events forthcoming.

No one leaves their phone behind unless they don’t wish to be found. With suitcase in hand, he travels from England to Lahore, Pakistan where he takes a taxi into town. Partway there he leaves the taxi and rents a car instead, heading off into the countryside.

Things are looking darker and more serious when he stops along the way to purchase a burner phone, a roll of duct tape and two handguns. Still with no idea of what murky adventure he has embarked on, he resumes the drive. Why is he buying a bright blue roller suitcase?

At another busy town he parks his original car and rents another one. Finally arriving at his destination, he parks near the gates of a large home festooned with decorations for an upcoming wedding. As the guests pass through heavily guarded gates, entering the compound, Jay smoking thoughtfully, wanders the perimeter of the home.

When he considers the time to be right, the guests have either left or are asleep, he strolls up to the remaining guard and asks for a light. Having successfully cased the home, he returns to his car to don his dark clothes and ski mask. The walls surrounding the home are easy to scale.

In no time, gun in hand, he is prowling through the house. He finds the object of his quest – Samira (Radhika Apte), the bride-to-be. He puts tape over her mouth and with the gun pointed to her head he tells her to get up, they are leaving. As an extra precaution, he puts a bag over her head and forces her into the trunk of his second rental car.

They drive back to his first rental car. If she promises not to create any kind of disturbance she can ride in the backseat and not in the trunk. She clearly knows she’s the victim of a kidnapping, but by whom and for what purpose?

When they finally speak face to face, she has no idea who Jay is; he only knows of her existence. With his usual careful planning, he presents her with the blue suitcase he has packed for her with new identity and clothes – she changes clothes and they set off for India.

The connection between these two strangers is unknown to Samira; Jay is in touch with the connection periodically – the person who ordered the kidnapping. A death initiates the unraveling of Jay’s carefully planned abduction so the pair of strangers must return to Pakistan to hide out.

That plan is not successful either as the unraveling of his abduction plot continues at an even faster pace. Another death brings everything to a halt! “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry . . .”

Directed by Michael Winterbottom (Credits: The Trip to Spain, On the Road) this is a “should see” movie that runs 97 minutes.


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