'The Weekend Away' (2022) Review: A Murder Mystery with Complicated Feminism

Nuha Hassan reviews Kim Farrant's The Weekend Away, a murder mystery with swirling dark secrets set against the backdrop of Split and Zagreb.

'The Weekend Away' (2022) Review: A Murder Mystery with Complicated Feminism

by Nuha Hassan

Kim Farrant’s The Weekend Away, adapted from Sarah Alderson’s novel of the same name, is a movie that shows how one weekend away with a best friend can go wrong. Beth (Leighton Meester) goes on a weekend getaway to Croatia with her best friend Kate (Christina Wolfe), who has gotten recently divorced. Back home in London, Beth’s husband, Rob (Luke Norris) takes care of their toddler, who appears to strongly dislike Kate and wants Beth to return home as soon as possible. During their night out at the club, they meet two attractive young men and return to their rented Airbnb after drinking all night. When Beth wakes up the next morning, Kate is missing. She goes to the police station, but they are not helpful, as they assume that Kate left Beth to meet someone else. Later, the police inform Beth they have found Kate’s body in the ocean, and she is accused of killing her best friend. Beth begins to investigate the truth on her own, but she uncovers a painful secret that draws her to the centre of a murder case.

The Weekend Away is a murder mystery set amongst the beautiful surroundings of Split and Zagreb. Given the circumstances of Kate’s death, Beth is the accused murderer from the get go, however, as the audience knows, in a murder mystery everybody is a suspect. First, Zain (Ziad Bakri), a taxi driver from Syria accompanies Beth to their Airbnb apartment and offers to help her drive around. The landlord, Sebastian (Adrian Pezdirc), is a music composer who is overly friendly and creepy at the same time. When their agreement is over, Sebastian offers to let Beth stay in a spare room, but there is something strange in the air. In a different room, which he claims to be his recording studio, she finds out there is more to it than Sebastian claimed the secret locked room to be.

Leighton Meester as Beth sits in the car, talking to a man

At the police station, Beth meets Pavić (Amar Bukvić), who doesn’t listen to her concerns and assumes Kate is off somewhere with a mysterious man and is bound to turn up anytime. Then his partner, Kovać (Iva Mihalić) reminds him to keep a record of the missing person. There are many pictures of missing women displayed on the wall, which Beth notices before she leaves. Even in fiction, it’s astonishingly absurd how missing women are not taken seriously. In the context of The Weekend Away, the missing person’s wall showed that there were a significant amount of women who went missing due to sex trafficking. So, why did Pavić dismiss it? Was it because he knew about the operation or was he involved with Kate’s murder? Instead of being concerned for Beth’s missing friend. Pavić asks her whether Kate was on drugs, rather than asking if Kate was drugged by the male escorts hired by Kate. The blame was shifted to Beth for not telling the truth, but how could she when Pavić didn’t listen to her when she first made their report?

Beth desperately tries to convince the police that it may be Kate’s ex-husband, Jay (Parth Thakerar), who might have travelled two hours to Croatia, but the police are not concerned. The Weekend Away is a roller-coaster where the audience watches several men gaslight a distressed woman searching for her missing and then ultimately, finding out the truth about her murdered best friend. Out of the blue, Rob turns up in Croatia but doesn’t lend her a helping hand and insists that she return home to their baby. There is no sympathy or concern from Rob, until he admits he feels remorse after Kate’s body is discovered. The only person who does help her is Zain, but their friendship is so random. She trusts him from the beginning, without any questions asked and he too, lends a helping hand when she interrogates people about Kate. It’s confusing to watch Beth become acquainted with him so quickly given how suspicious everyone is behaving.

The Weekend Away gets interesting right at the third act, and given the runtime of the movie, it is quite a decent watch. Meester, famously known for her portrayal of Blair Waldorf from Gossip Girl, plays an upset friend in search of her best friend and she gives somewhat of a good performance. Perhaps the one thing that it lacks is an interesting script. Overall, The Weekend Away gets to the point straightaway. It keeps the audience guessing who the murderer is, and if the viewers pay attention, maybe they can figure out who it is before the movie ends. Indeed, the movie is a classic tale of how much men despise women when things don’t go their way, almost to the point of committing murder.

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