In its recent quarterly results, Netflix bemoaned the lack of penetration in the Indian market. The comments and laggard numbers led to a sharp correction in its common Class A stock price, leading many to wonder if it will ever recover. Well, if Netflix keeps making films like ‘The Weekend Away’, it seems unlikely it will. The new release on the streaming platform is bemusing, confusing, and utterly wasteful. It is a masterclass in how not to do things while making a film.




The plot is set around Beth’s weekend vacation with her best friend Kate in Croatia. The latter goes missing after a wild night of partying. As Beth delves deeper into investigating her disappearance, and eventual murder, she unravels a gamut of secrets about her own personal life. The one aspect that influences all the bad decisions is the writing. It is lazy and highly derivative. There does not seem to be any enthusiasm among the writers to properly do anything – write scenes, dialogue, or pay attention to the story’s cohesiveness. The abrupt change of events is so poorly written and acted out, it feels criminal to give it any sort of recognition.

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With just a handful of major characters, the job might have been easier for the director. Instead, he takes it too easy. His unattentiveness and improper execution ensure that the story lacks any teeth, any semblance of conviction to do something substantial. The uninspiring comfort zones of the artists associated with the project make the viewer uncomfortable. Leighton Meester’s presence on the roster is fleetingly the saving grace for ‘The Weekend Away’. Her anchor performance is successful in providing some change of fortune for the film. Her likable screen presence keeps you glued to the screen when the director compensates for the poor storytelling. She nails almost all of her scenes. Her chemistry with Ziad Bakri (Zain) is also decent. The touristy feeling that one gets visiting places like these is found in abundance here.

The Weekend Away. (L to R) Marko Braić as Luka, Ziad Bakri as Zain, Leighton Meester as Beth in The Weekend Away. Cr. Ivan Sardi/Netflix ©2022

At times, it seems as if the setup is an advertisement for the locale attractions for those visiting Split. Every cultural dimension of the place is touched upon. We do get to see some stunning portraits of the beautiful city but not in a way that could save the movie from constructive scrutiny. The apparent lack of seriousness reflects in how the plot twists surface. The blame game moves in its generic cadence – from the immediate suspects, the bad guys, to the good ones, who we all know, have not done it. The obligatory passing of the guilt baton never seems to be interesting, although it did seem at one point that Sebastian’s sub-plot might make things interesting. Even his character’s wrap-up makes for dull viewing.




I do not know how this newfound female-centric consciousness in films is influencing them. Is it really elevating stories and their impact to the next level, or are they fettering them into an uneasy space where the half-hearted commitment is hurting them? In my experience, the latter is more frequent. This very aspect in ‘The Weekend Away’ just makes you go, “ugh, not again” in the end. The manner in which the trope was flirtatiously floated for a while came across as disrespectful. Without contributing anything positive, it made the representation in general of these themes on screen feeble. Asking for It was another recently released film that exploited the emotional premise to no end really. It remains to be seen for how long will the community be able to bear such unremarkable feats of feminism on celluloid.

Also, Read – The Hating Game [2021] Review: Promise Turns into Pity Sooner Than You’d Expect

My patience, at least, has run out with ‘The Weekend Away’. This Netflix film is an easy skip for me. Projects like these are disturbing in how callously they deal with sensitive subjects and make little or no effort to ensure authenticity. Using an actor’s star power to sell a story that amounts to nothing more than words repeated a thousand times on paper is becoming a dangerous tradition. As cinephiles, we must be wary and make suitable adjustments to our palettes. This species of film threatens to eclipse great cinema that does not necessarily make it out on such platforms.




The Weekend Away is now streaming on Netflix

Trailer

The Weekend Away (2022) Links – IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes
The Weekend Away (2022) Cast – Leighton Meester, Amar Bukvic, Iva Mihalic, Ziad Bakri, Christina Wolfe, Adrian Pezdirc

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