The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Riz Ahmed in The Reluctant Fundamentalist.

Director Mira Nair (Salaam Bombay; Monsoon Wedding) delivers an intense adaption of Moshin Hamid’s bestseller. It tells of Changez, an ambitious young man whose identity pivots between a glittering stockbroker career in the Big Apple and his home culture thousands of miles away in Lahore, Pakistan.

Aggressive young gun Changez sums up everything his poet father detests about the West, as he lands a prize job at a firm specialising in the ruthless takeovers of ailing companies. Changez soon catches the eye of troubled trophy WASP princess Erica, who is intrigued by this ‘exotic’ man. Then, out of the blue, the World Trade Centre is destroyed, and suddenly Changez’s Pakistani background and face suddenly don’t fit.

Being strip-searched at US Customs is the first of his humiliations; and disenchantment with his new home, which forces Changez to reconsider who he is, draws him back to Pakistan and headlong into the unfolding conflict between the US military and Pakistani extremists. Nair astutely treads the delicate faultlines between Western and Islamic worlds, supported by an impressive cast led by Riz Ahmed, with Kiefer Sutherland, Kate Hudson and Shabana Azmi.

Certificate: 15    Distributor: Mara Pictures

Dir. Mira Nair, US/UK/Qatar, 2012, 128 mins

Cast: Kate Hudson, Kiefer Sutherland, Liev Schreiber, Riz Ahmed

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