To be completely honest, I think I already watched this movie when it came out and then completely forgot about it. And that tells you something about it. Or me and my memory. Okay, I guess a little bit of both but you get where I’m going with this. The Invitation is one of those dinner party from hell movies full of mystery and a foreboding atmosphere. You already know the deal, we’re talking about a single-location movie unfolding in real-time. And unfolding rather slowly. The build-up is too meticulous and yet unsatisfyingly vapid of any juicy details.
So, you could say that The Invitation is a prime example of wasted potential. On the other hand, I did manage to finish the movie without any problems. We will be following Will, Tom Hardy’s brother from another mother and a grief-stricken man as he tries to make peace with his ex-wife during a surprise dinner party with all of their old friends. And right away you get the sense that this dinner is not going to end well. The only question is how we’re going to get there it seems. I don’t want to reveal or talk too much about The Invitation because that’s just going to ruin your experience.
Let’s just say that if you’re looking for a solid thriller to kill an hour and a half, you’ve just found it. The production values, acting, cinematography, and pretty much everything else was good. And since the story is taking place in this modern and sleek Los Angeles mansion where rich people live, it has a certain voyeuristic charm to it. I’ve always wanted to look beyond those gates and see how life goes on unfettered by our everyday monetary woes. And this movie, The Invitation, confirms everything you’ve already thought about rich people. Additionally, I loved the timing of that full-frontal nudity, a touch of class if I might add.
It’s been two years since Will last saw his ex-wife Eden and her new husband David. However, just a couple of days ago, Will received an invitation to a dinner party at Eden’s swanky mansion in Hollywood Hills. And all of their old friends are invited. Will, encouraged by his new girlfriend Kira, decides to go. He doesn’t know yet that this is going to be one hell of a night.
Apart from being ominous, the atmosphere here is also dreamy or should I say nightmarish. Everyone moves really slowly and it’s like everything is happening in slow motion. This becomes a bit of a problem in the final third of the movie as their reactions do not feel realistic. The Invitation is a movie that explores grief and loss up to a certain point, backing away just as we were about to make progress. In the end, it does feel a bit pretentious and like it’s made by the rich people who were guests at this dinner. It’s trying to convince us that there’s something more to it when it’s just another mediocre thriller.
Luckily, Logan Marshall-Green and especially Michiel Huisman gave excellent and convincing performances. Too bad we didn’t learn anything about the rest of the characters. Perhaps a better idea would be to have just the four of them have dinner but what’s done is done. Finally, it’s time to talk about other movies featuring fucked up dinner parties. And right away I have to tell you that my favorites are The Perfect Host and Rope. Coherence is also a good choice and if you want something hilarious do check out The Dinner Game.
Director: Karyn Kusama
Writers: Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi
Cast: Logan Marshall-Green, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Michiel Huisman, Tammy Blanchard, John Carroll Lynch
Fun Facts: Luke Wilson, Zachary Quinto, Topher Grace and Johnny Galecki were in the original cast, back in 2012 when the development of this project began.
IMDb Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2400463/