Directed by: Michael Winterbottom
Written by: Michael Winterbottom
Starring: Dev Patel, Radhika Apte, Jim Sarbh
Things do not always go to plan, and when bumps in the road occur, the smallest change can cause the largest ripple effects. This thriller looks at a deal gone wrong and how it impacts the characters in a very dangerous game of deception.
Jay (Dev Patel) has been hired to kidnap Samira (Radhika Apte) just as she enters into an arranged marriage. During the process of quietly taking her away, Jay shoots a guard, which complicates what should have been an easy assignment. Everything after this event piles into circumstances that no one had originally planned.
The Wedding Guest fails to provoke any thought or commentary worth discussing simply because it lacks any venerable quality. It tells a story with two very different halves and what began as a promising premise loses its steam with a second-half hindered by its change in tone. It results in a weak story loosely tied together that would fall apart upon pressing any thoughts on its deeper meaning. Some major reveals play into the story but they lack any real resonance or add any true suspense to the story. It leaves no lasting impact and I have forgotten most of the film while writing this review.
The one enjoyable aspect of the film comes from Dev Patel because he performs well even in his lesser projects. Whether it be in Slumdog Millionaire or Lion, he brings emotional heft to all of his films and shows a different side in The Wedding Guest. With this performance, it feels like he submitted a clip to audition as the next James Bond. He makes an elegant case as he toes the line of being a smooth character who can also be rough and take care of business when necessary. Patel can carry that balance well and hopefully, the reels of this film can demonstrate to the producers of the Bond franchise that he could excel in the role and be the next 007. If that legacy follows this film, then it would have all been worth it because everything else feels quite unremarkable.
In the end, The Wedding Guest does nothing terrible but also does not add anything fresh or seemingly good as a film. It became a rather lukewarm experience that unfortunately becomes quite forgettable in a matter of days because it lacks any real substance or thematic weight. It’s fairly straightforward and very uncomplicated with the way the story unfolds and eventually concludes. The only impression it could have in the future remains the possibility of it launching Dev Patel as an actor capable of handling action sequences along with dramas. Patel also gets to sport an awesome beard. I would not really recommend this to anyone because other films tell similar stories but to a much better extent, but maybe we will all look back at this one and say it resulted in Dev Patel landing the James Bond role, similarly to what Layer Cake did for Daniel Craig.