You might expect from the title that this is another of director Michael Winterbottom’s light comedies as in The Trip series, and that it has something to do with nuptials, but you’d be sorely mistaken. There’s no wedding and no guest, though the main character Jay (Dev Patel – Slumdog Millionaire, Lion) does pose as one early on in the movie. But given the fact that his shopping list for the trip included duct tape and a couple of guns, you know he isn’t probably going there for the happy day’s celebration. He’s actually come all the way from England to a dusty village in Pakistan to kidnap the bride. But of course things don’t go exactly as planned. And that propels him and the bride Samira (Radhika Apte) on a danger-filled journey criss-crossing Pakistan and India as the relationship between kidnapper and hostage morphs into something entirely different.

Jay (he’s listed in the credits as Jay, but you never actually hear his real name in the film) is a kidnapper for hire, though you get to know very little else about him. He has connections for things like procuring fake passports, and he knows about renting multiple cars to cover his tracks. He’s a pro and he takes the job seriously. But after the kidnapping goes awry, his client doesn’t want to be involved and backs out of taking Samira off his hands forcing Jay and Samira to spend a lot of time together. It turns out Samira really didn’t want to get married and the client was her selfish boyfriend Dipesh (Jim Sarbh). Oh, and there are some jewels worth big bucks involved. And Samira isn’t the naive girl she might have seemed.

The Wedding Guest is a brisk noirish thriller that shows Patel can carry an action role, as well as a romantic lead. So much of his role is silent and his subtle facial expressions speak volumes. It’s a beautifully shot journey with some interesting twists, though the story was not terribly fleshed out and the ending was not as satisfying as it might have been. Nonetheless, it’s an engrossing ride worth seeing.

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