Michael Winterbottom wrote and directed the 2018 British-American action-thriller film The Wedding Guest. Dev Patel, Radhika Apte, and Jim Sarbh star.
On September 8, 2018, The Wedding Guest made its international debut at the Toronto International Film Festival. IFC Films distributed it in the United States on March 1, 2019.
Jay, a British guy, is recruited to kidnap a woman during her wedding in Pakistan. When he arrives in Pakistan, he proceeds to Younganabad, where he changes vehicle rentals and purchases the necessary equipment. He scouts the neighbourhood, including the family house where the bridal party is staying. He sneaks inside the house later that night and kidnaps the bride, Samira, at gunpoint. He tapes her lips, zip-ties her hands, and covers her head. A guard observes the kidnapping and attempts to interfere as he walks her away from the house. Jay shoots him to death. He departs the scene, putting Samira in the trunk of his automobile.
Jay ultimately takes the duct tape out of Samira’s lips and tells her why he abducted her. Because Samira was in an arranged marriage and in love with another guy, Deepesh, who hired Jay, she was anticipating Jay. Jay gives Samira the option of continuing on to Lahore and seeing Deepesh, or returning to her family and the marriage. Samira decides to continue her journey to Lahore. Jay is asked to uncover Samira’s head and untie her hands, which he does.
They take a taxi to Amritsar. Jay buys phones and SIM cards in order to contact Deepesh. Samira informs Jay that the phone number he has for Deepesh is his UK phone, and that he also has a local number. Deepesh informs Jay that he is not at the meeting in Amritsar but is in London and would return to India the next day.
The kidnapping and murder make headlines, prompting Deepesh to reconsider bringing Samira. Deepesh instructs Jay in New Delhi to return Samira. Jay accepts, but informs Deepesh that he would want an additional £20,000 in funding. Jay informs Samira of this. She informs Jay that she does not wish to accompany him and instead wishes to visit Deepesh.
Jay visits Deepesh in Jaipur, who provides him half of the money he requested. Deepesh informs Jay that he will have the second half of the assignment once it is completed. Jay informs him that he requires all of his money. Deepesh informs Jay that he may have it the next day. Jay instructs Deepesh to proceed to a hotel where he and Samira will meet him.
Deepesh picks up Jay and Samira and drives them to the hotel. Samira requests that she and Deepesh converse alone. Jay agrees and motions for Deepesh to pull over so he may exit. He keeps driving until Jay takes out his revolver. Jay wants the remainder of his money before exiting the automobile. Jay overhears Deepesh and Samira fighting and witnesses Deepesh striking Samira. Deepesh is dragged out by Jay. The two are at odds. Deepesh assaults Jay with a rock after Jay turns his back to check on Samira. Jay murders Deepesh by grabbing the rock.
Samira starts the SUV and dials Jay’s number. She asks if she can trust him, and he says no, but she chooses to make a bargain with him. She and Deepesh planned to sell jewels taken from his family, which had been replaced with fake replicas. She proposes splitting the gems with Jay, and he accepts.
Jay departs to obtain gas and materials for the body’s disposal. He returns to incinerate Deepesh’s body, and the two proceed to the hotel, Jay adopting Deepesh’s identity. They fabricate a story in which they are travelling to Nepal. They sell the SUV to a fence, who then connects them with a buyer for the gems. The jeweller refuses to conduct the sale because one of the stones is worth more than $100,000.
They travel to Goa and rent a home, where they become entangled. Jay awakens one morning to find Samira gone. She calls him to apologise but tells him that although she can’t, he may go home because no one knows who he is. Jay is told by Samira that she will miss him.
While Patel’s performance and the connection between him and co-star Apte are fascinating to see, the film’s speed is often slowed by the trip sequences. Other than the fact that India offers many beautiful areas for them to hide out, there doesn’t appear to be a compelling motive for them to bounce from town to town. There’s also a crisp, tinny tone somewhere in Harry Escott’s song.