With bad acting, poor writing, and drab execution, all goes wrong with The Weekend Away.
This review of the Netflix film The Weekend Away does not contain spoilers.
A good thriller always knows how to play with the audience’s anticipations. Leighton Meester-starring new Netflix film The Weekend Away misses that drastically. As a result, it becomes a prime example of flat storytelling with nothing to offer emotionally or artistically.
Based on the book by Sarah Alderson (who also wrote the screenplay for the film) and directed by Kim Farrant, the plot is not a unique one, especially for the thriller genre. A middle-aged married girl, Beth (Leighton Meester), comes to Croatia to spend a weekend with her college days best friend, Kate (Christina Wolfe). Though the two are total opposites in their characteristics, they share a strong bond. Kate is an extrovert who leads a wild, careless and risky lifestyle. At the same time, Beth is a mother of a child, calculated, and has a sense of responsibility towards her life. The two have a great time with each other after meeting in the film’s first act. But things get an unexpected turn.
This director establishes this classic thriller outline quite well in the first act. Despite showing affection, there is a concealed coldness and distance between the two characters. That leads to tension and anticipation for a more excellent mystery to brew in the opening scenes. But as the story progresses, this tension dies out, replacing it with flatness in the narrative. The twists and turns are too pretentious and unfulfilling that you don’t even care for them from a certain point in time. Also, the logical loopholes the movie harbors are inconceivable. For example, the police convict a person based on street CCTV footage in a scene. It is said that the person’s face is identified from that footage. But in a later scene, we understand that the person in the footage is someone else. It feels pretty dumb for me to digest why the police come to a clear-cut conclusion by seeing the footage at first if there is a doubt. Like these, there are other scenes in the movie which feel dumb in the same way.
The most unfortunate aspect of all in the movie is the actors’ performances. A good actor’s acting stands upon his ability to listen and react to the situation. Leighton Meester hurriedly throws her dialogue at the screen. She is not responding to the situations surrounding her. Thus there is no connection to her character. Christina Wolfe has a limited screen time but overcomes the symptoms of Leighton. But her character has no depth and also fails to make a mark.
I see the promise in Palestinian actor Ziad Bakri. He plays the role of Zain, a taxi driver, who helps Beth unravel the mystery of Kate’s disappearance. Ziad successfully portrays the various shades of the character, from a war-torn heartbroken man to a rugged protector of Kate in her helpless situation. I think Ziad is the only sustaining element in the entire film.
Every week, we encounter a thriller show or film on the streaming platforms. So, nowadays, the content has to provide something unique to get the audience’s attention. The Weekend Away does not only miss the uniqueness, but its cliches are also drably executed. As a result, it becomes a film that fails to connect people and becomes a thriller with no thrills.
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