Coming to theaters from writer/director Michael Winterbottom and IFC Films comes a story of what everyone does for love with “The Wedding Guest.”
Jay (Dev Patel) is a mystery man who is hired by Deepesh (Jim Sarbh) to do the unthinkable. Nearing a small town in Pakistan, Jay ingratiates himself to a wedding party in order to get near the bride-to-be Samira (Radhika Apte).
During the night, Jay enters the house and kidnaps Samira and comes face to face with a guard. Stashing the girl in the trunk, Jay speeds away hearing the household awaken in a fury. Changing cars he again speeds away but this time lets Samira know that everything is fine.
Feeling secure enough, Jay lets Samira out and lets her know that someone hired him to take her. She instantly knows who it is as they travel deeper into India. The problem is that the news has spread of her kidnapping and now they are being looked for.
That’s the biggest problem as Deepesh is now having second thoughts about dealing with the problem and wants Jay’s help again. There is something deeper here and Jay is going to have to discover what it is and how to handle it.
Someone isn’t telling him the whole truth!
Patel as Jay is very menacing as this character with is quiet ways and little time for chit-chat. He is methodical and quick on his feet when it comes to adjusting the plan at a moments notice. It doesn’t help that everyone around him has other agendas. Patel continues to chose roles that are challenging and unexpected and, lets face it, he is a far cry from “Slumdog Millionaire” and he has made his way flawlessly.
Apte as Samira doesn’t want to get married but also comes from a family where tradition isn’t about what she wants. Once she understands the situation with Jay, she doesn’t fight back and actually begins to let the whole thing play out. She is smart, tough and did I mention smart?
Sarbh as Deepesh has a small role but he is the instigator of the whole misadventure. Money he’s got and has no problem throwing it at Jay to get everything he wants – well, almost everything.
Other cast include Harish Khanna as Nitin, Nish Nathwani as Sam, Meherbaan Singh as Osman and Sidhu Manpreet as Haveli.
“The Wedding Guest” is a thriller that brings the action to every scene. The film is carried by Patel and Apte from start to finish as they play off each other’s character. Both are mysterious and both keep secrets very well. So much so that we really don’t know much about them accept for what is right in front of us – and I’m okay with that.
The vastness of Pakistan and the tight quarters of India only add to the intensity and the anxiety of hiding in plain sight in both circumstances. From the very beginning I was curious as to what Patel’s character was up to and had no problem going for the ride. Changing his papers from one name to the next always reminds us that we never truly know who Jay is or if Jay is even his real name!
That’s what makes “The Wedding Guest” a film worth investing time to watch. The curiosity factor is so high that each step the duo takes changes up the course of what initially was to happen.