Review by Dan Skip Allen
I've seen a lot of films where people are vacationing in a foreign country, and things go wrong. These types of films have a sense of adventure and create an atmosphere of a thriller. That, most of the time, can be good. Sometimes as in The Tourist, it's not that good. The Weekend Away has quite a few twists and turns that make it more than a contrived thriller.
Kate (Christina Wolfe) and Beth (Leighton Meester) are two longtime friends who vacation in Croatia. After a long night of partying, the two return to their hotel. When Beth wakes up the following day, she can't find her friend Kate. She tries to get help from a local police Detective Pavic (Amar Bukvic), with no luck. She enlists the help of a taxi driver, Zain (Ziad Bakri), to help her find answers to her missing friend's whereabouts.
The Weekend Away is more than just a film about women who go on vacation, and one of them ends up missing. It's a film about privacy and domestic problems as well. The film had a lot of twists and turns that kept it interesting. Most of the characters are ones we've seen in cinema before: the shady police officer, the mysterious cab driver, the weird neighbor, and of course, the innocent friend who gets wrapped up in this mystery from the get-go.
The cast is pretty good, though. They could have fallen back on familiar tropes of this sort of film, but they don't. They are very good in their various roles. They keep the story moving forward and keep the audience interested throughout the film. Some are more experienced than others, but all are very good. A movie like this needs a believable cast, and this one has that.
The filmmaking style is a good one as well. The cinematography in this foreign country is stunning. Who knew Croatia could look this good? The night scenes and the day scenes are all done very well. The director, Kim Farrant, keeps the film looking fresh. Adapting the book from Sarah Alderson is pretty straightforward. It's nothing new but is still entertaining nonetheless.
The success of this film hinges on its lead character, and Leighton Meester (The Roommate) leads the viewers down a path of concern and worry. We are put into her shoes and believe all the grief and anxiety she is going through. Her constant problems throughout the film lend themselves to her acting style. She's very good at making her character sympathetic to the viewers watching.
This film is entertaining and keeps the viewer on their feet while watching it. It's not the typical girls who go to a foreign country, and one of them ends up missing a story. Leighton Meester is a strong leading character, but the rest of the cast does very well. They all lend their talents very nicely to this mystery thriller. The film looks very good, and the script based on the novel is pretty straightforward. It's a good film with a bottle of wine and a significant other on a Friday night.
The Weekend Away is now on Netflix.