‘Wed­ding Guest’ gives us fe­male hostage with power

The Buffalo News - - WEATHER -

“No, it isn’t,” Samira shoots back. “That’s the point.”

Writer-di­rec­tor Michael Win­ter­bot­tom (“The Trip to Spain”) is a shape-shift­ing film­maker, and he con­tin­ues that mu­ta­ble pat­tern here, giv­ing Pa­tel the kind of role we’re not used to see­ing him in. Jay is not ex­actly a hero, al­though he has a kind of honor and per­verse hon­esty.

Nor is he the film’s an­ti­hero. For one thing, he’s a cold­blooded killer. For an­other, the film be­longs just as much to Apte, whose com­plex, con­tra­dic­tory char­ac­ter makes a great case for the ar­gu­ment that the film is mis­named for an­other rea­son. It’s her story, not his. In truth, it’s both of theirs, but not in the way you might think.

A lesser sto­ry­teller would have brought Jay and Samira to­gether, pur­su­ing the loveon-the-lam nar­ra­tive. And for a while, “The Wed­ding Guest” looks as though that’s where it’s go­ing. Say­ing more would spoil the plea­sure of the film, which sur­prises at ev­ery turn. Samira, like Jay, is no saint. Deepesh calls her a “snake” at one point, but he misses the point. She’s not treach­er­ous be­cause she de­fies his – and our – ex­pec­ta­tions. She’s sim­ply hu­man.

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