The Reluctant Fundamentalist

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

DVD - 2013
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When an American academic in Pakistan is kidnapped by anti-American radicals, the CIA thinks popular young Pakistani professor Changez is involved. But as Changez tells his story about his life in the US to an American foreign correspondent, the truth becomes harder to pin down.

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n
Nursebob
May 21, 2018

Both one man’s search for identity in a time of global hysteria and a watered down thriller as Pakistani professor and cynical American reporter become all too aware of political storm clouds gathering around them, Mira Nair’s big screen adaptation of Mohsin Hamid’s novel works best when it concentrates on Khan’s individual relationships rather than the “bigger picture” his life is obviously meant to mirror. Loving America yet also angry at that country’s covert operations in his own, Khan’s interactions with the people around him say more than any polemic could. His father (the great Om Puri) embraces the old ways, his privileged New York artist girlfriend (Kate Hudson) highlights cultural misunderstanding with a post 9/11 gallery exhibit, and the reporter himself (ironic name) carries a hidden agenda while at the same time trying to appear objective. Canada’s own Kiefer Sutherland plays the Ugly Capitalist as Changez’s ruthlessly pragmatic former boss. And of course there’s the usual assortment of churlish Americans and outraged Moslems—the peaceful Khan suffering various humiliations at the hands of the former, and a cautious empathy with the latter. But with everyone in the film swinging their fists, Nair wisely chooses to focus her camera on just a few choice bruises.

r
richmole
Mar 31, 2018

"A Pakistani ... the American dream well within his reach ...the twin towers are attacked...he finds himself embroiled in a hostage crisis...". Sounds like a thriller.

Well...not exactly. But that's good; this movie avoids ALL the thriller cliches and goes after--and achieves--something quite unique. One: it's not about 9/11, but rather, the EFFECT of 9/11 to good, native-born Americans and good, recent immigrants. Two: the hostage crisis doesn't take place in America at all...

A great and topical story (screenplay by Mohsin Hamin from his own novel), extremely well acted by all, including Kiefer Sutherland in a great supporting role, Kate Hudson in terrific part of the conflicted American girl-friend, Liev Schreiber in one of his best roles as a compromised journalist and, most of all, young British actor, Riz Ahmed as the "fundamentalist" (and that's NOT what you think it is...)

Wife and I watched it with a friend...all three of us transfixed. Lots of suspense...but lots more besides. This is a good one.

s
SandraLH
Aug 24, 2016

Good characterization and suspense depicting the time of 9-11 from the perspective of a Pakistani Muslim man who came to America to start a new enterprising life and everything fell apart.

v
Vivica
Jun 17, 2016

The central character is shallow & unlikable. The reasons used for justifying his conversion are pretty flimsy - on the whole ... I found the film transparently manipulative.

j
JoaBiblio
May 29, 2016

Interesting thesis-movie.
Many layers to read through.
Well done by Liev Schreiber (though his is an interior story).
Heart-wrenching journey that of Changez. (Playing with his -French? - name?).
It's worth watching the movie.

c
ceiligh
Oct 22, 2015

An interesting film.
Enjoyable soundtrack.

t
tenet
Mar 24, 2015

Rated 1/10.

e
empbee
Mar 18, 2015

Very good and well done movie about fear, insecurity, paranoia and their consequences in lives.

i
IV27HUjg
Feb 25, 2015

Not as violent as I feared & certainly does deliver on what it likely has happened & continues to happen to many of the Muslim faith just by 'looks' alone. This practice of prejudice based on looks, stereotypes, beliefs, cultures is ageless, it's just so current that it's in the forefront. A paranoid nation after 9/11 pushed agencies into tactics many have come to regret. Good film, well-acted, offers realistic view of many cultures.

manoush Oct 29, 2014

I don't think there's a Mira Nair film that's unwatchable (except for Kama Sutra). "The Reluctant Fundamentalist" is an adaptation of Mohsin Hamid's novel, and it works well because the central character, Changez, undergoes an abrupt and complete transformation. At first he's a rising star in a McKinsey-type consulting firm, taken under the wing of a mentor well-played by Kiefer Sutherland. Changez becomes a poster boy for the American dream, making a lot of money in New York and acquiring an artsy, rich girlfriend (a miscast Kate Hudson). Then he sours on the US after September 11 and the Bush administration's bombing of Afghanistan and invasion of Iraq. His mistreatment in the US for his brown skin leads him to go back to Pakistan and become a firebrand college lecturer, where he draws the attention of American agents, presumably working for the CIA.

Nair's film hews pretty closely to the novel, with excellent acting from all the principals except for very stiff, uninspired acting by Liev Schreiber and a phone-it-in performance by Hudson. Riz Khan plays Changez exceedingly well. The scene in which he's full-body-searched at the airport is very arresting, wordlessly conveying the humiliation suffered by many American citizens and residents for their Muslim names after 9/11. Making brief but memorable appearances as Changez's parents are Shabana Azmi and Om Puri, two titans of Hindi cinema.The film opens with a stunning musical performance, "Kangana" by the Qawwali duo Fareed Ayaz and Abu Muhammad. The soaring music is intercut with a dramatic kidnapping that starts off the film, but the simultaneity is distracting. The musical performance really commands all one's attention and dwarfs the action.

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jimg2000
Mar 22, 2014

Changez (began life in New York City as a financial analysts): “I was . . . never an American; I was immediately a New Yorker.”

j
jimg2000
Mar 22, 2014

From IMDB: ------ Nazmi Kemal: Nazmi: "Have you heard of the janissaries?" -----

Changez: Changez: "No." ----

Nazmi Kemal: Nazmi: "They were Christian boys, captured by the Ottomans at an early age. They were educated to forget their own culture and trained to be soldiers in their army. Then, as fanatical Muslims, they were set loose on the Christian countries from which they were taken."

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