The Reluctant Fundamentalist | Movie Release, Showtimes & Trailer | Cinema Online
Movie Details

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Mira Nair directs this political thriller based on the novel by the same name by Mohsin Hamid, about a Pakistani man working on Wall Street. A young Pakistani man graduates from Princeton and chases corporate success on Wall Street, only to find himself embroiled in a conflict between his American Dream, a hostage crisis, and the enduring call of his family`s homeland.

Language: English
Subtitle: NA
Classification: 18
Release Date: 17 Oct 2013
Genre: Thriller
Running Time: 2 Hours 10 Minutes
Distributor: GSC MOVIES
Cast: Riz Ahmed, Kate Hudson, Liev Schreiber, Kiefer Sutherland, Om Puri
Director: Mira Nair
Format: 2D

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Review
Writer: Casey Lee

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Watch this if you liked: "Body of Lies" and "Zero Dark Thirty"

After an American professor is kidnapped off the streets of Lahore, an American journalist (Liev Schreiber) walks into a student dorm cafe to have an interview with Professor Changez Khan (Riz Ahmed), a former financial analyst for an upstanding American firm who has become a lecturer in the University of Lahore. As their interview slowly progresses, it becomes clearer than the journalist isn't here to hear Changez's opinions about the militant academia in Pakistan, but delves deeper in Changez's hinted involvement with a missing American, while an angry mob of students are slowly being fanned to flames outside the dorm.

Based on Mohsin Hamid's best-selling novel of the same name, "The Reluctant Fundamentalist" tackles the hard-hitting realities in a post 9/11 world when terrorism is given vicious attention after the infamous attacks on the World Trade Centre. The subject matter here is potentially explosive as it puts a different perspective in how the fear of being attack not only skewers American's armed foreign policy, but also blinds a society to attack the civil liberties of anyone who wears a beard, or a turban.

On the technical front, director Mira Nair performs an admirable job, if not outstanding, in steering the helm of bringing the thriller onscreen with Riz Ahmed as the fervent worshiper of the American Dream turned denouncer as a strong first mate. While Ahmed and the rest of his fellow Middle Eastern and Asian cast steadily keeps this boat afloat, it is their Western counterparts that threaten to bring this ship down. The chemistry between Ahmed's Changez and Schreiber's tired-looking journalist Bobby lacks buoyancy, but it is Kate Hudson's poorly defined girlfriend that is the largest leak that drains away the emotional gravity of discrimination and stereotypical persecution.

Why "The Reluctant Fundamentalist" doesn't work is because it refuses to let the powder keg explode, whether it is the fear in the source material or the adapted screenplay by Ami Boghani and William Wheeler, even where fuses were lit such as Chagez's initial reaction of awe instead of anger when the planes hit the towers. Although the 6 year wait to make this adaptation since Nair had read the unpublished manuscript of the novel in 2007 had closed some of its doors, taking into account the recent events on the 'War on Terror' (and the movies exploring it), but it also opens up new ones to bring in a new perspective.

Instead, what we got is a hollow address of the social and political repercussions of 9/11 with one thing leading to another down the path of dramatic tragedy that is not carried effectively, rather than an unflinching impetus to provoke thought and discourse.

As tired as Changez was of the reductive nature of being a capitalist or a mujahideen, "The Reluctant Fundamentalist" is a fundamentally sound execution that is reductive in its arguments and conclusion that never steps over its outdated starting point.


Cinema Online, 09 October 2013
   
Showtimes
 
Classification
U - General viewing for all ages
P13 - Parental guidance is advisable for children below 13 years old
18 - For 18+ with elements for mature audiences
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