It is not that often when the typical viewer runs across a deeply intriguing film, immersing both your time and mental energy into the overarching story. Netflix’s recently released project, The Weekend Away, has numerous twists and turns, navigating film lovers through a sea of possible suspects and scenarios. Centering around Beth (Leighton Meester), a wife and recent mom of one, she’s invited on a girls’ trip to Croatia with her soon-to-be-divorced best-friend Kate (Christina Wolfe), as they celebrate reuniting after an extensive amount of time apart.
Once Kate mysteriously vanishes after a night on the town, Beth races to find answers related to her current whereabouts. Beth does not yet know the deception she is later forced to confront at the hands of those closest to her. Based on Sarah Alderson’s novel, The Weekend Away, the inspiration behind the book (and film) comes from a girl’s trip Alderson took with her friends. However, her experience was not related to the picture’s premises.
As fun as it is to watch a highly integrative murder-mystery thriller (being an avid film connoisseur and all), the film takes us on a journey through a pool of characters who could potentially be related to Kate’s disappearance, even questioning the main protagonist’s (Beth) ulterior motives and intentions. Keeping viewers on their toes throughout the full duration, this story is a never-ending adventure, continuously shifting our focus from any initial perceptions we originally cultivated at the film’s start.
Here’s why The Weekend Away left viewers on a downward spiral.
It’s Difficult to Trust Any of These Characters
Between the local detective, the two men from the club, Kate herself, Kate’s soon-to-be ex-husband, the cab driver, Beth, Beth’s husband, and the villa owner, everyone’s a suspect. Early on in the film, viewers are looking at this story through a much deserved critical eye, questioning every character’s overall objective and the hidden links to one another. We instantly see Kate as this carefree and lovable woman once Beth arrives at the villa. She’s portrayed as this listening ear to Beth’s marital woes while also dealing with her own marriage’s fallout. We later learn the reasoning behind Kate’s divorce and why it’s difficult to trust that she’s really missing and instead is possibly framing her best friend for a non-existent murder.
The local cab driver, Zain (Ziad Bakri), is seemingly the only one we can trust from the beginning. Revealing his humanity from the film’s very start, he details the loss of his wife, as well as his journey migrating to a foreign country from the war that broke out in his home country, while mostly being perfect for Kate (that is, if she was not still married to her no-good husband). We do not want to get too deep into the story because of spoilers. But if you decide to watch, do not trust what any of the characters are saying (hint: besides the cab driver, he’s cool).
The Film’s Pacing Never Ends
The pacing is so fast that it keeps viewers reeling on edge, but the uncertainty is also fun to watch (while screaming at the television in shambles). These types of films that effortlessly pick up in key and vital moments, carrying viewers along with them, are very important. It’s in these moments where viewers are being immersed and transported from scene to scene they can ultimately craft their own assumptions as to what the real story could be or who’s lying about what.
Overall, the film keeps viewers questioning everything we attempted to formulate about these characters, not only deconstructing those initial perceptions but, as a result, we are left scrambling to quickly come up with an alternative motive or character who could be involved. From the beginning, once Kate appeared to have gone missing, the thought of her ex, Jay, being involved was a no-brainer. It made logical sense at the time, she was on vacation spending all his money from their impending divorce, and he could have reasoning for wanting her gone just based on that.
What we later find, Kate’s estranged husband is in a completely different country working from his office once Beth calls to notify him of her potential disappearance. Although he sounds shocked, he quickly disregards the claim of her being missing, reminding Beth that it’s in Kate’s nature to pull crazy stunts, similar to this one. This same game of cat and mouse literally happens with almost every character, preemptively labeling them as the secret antagonist until they’re revealed as somewhat innocent (that is, until it’s narrowed down to one).
Ironically, The Weekend Away embodies the much loved, now abandoned form of storytelling that die-hard film lovers have requested to see revived for ages now. Viewers love projects that deeply engage them while triggering them to question their own thoughts in moments. Impeccable storytelling is all about making the characters relatable and appealing in a way, allowing viewers to decipher for themselves if they are genuinely trustworthy or not.
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