DVD Review: The Reluctant Fundamentalist
The Reluctant Fundamentalist is based on the best selling novel by Moshin Hamid and follows the turbulent life of Changez, played with passion by Riz Ahmed (seen recently in the wonderfully dark and funny Four Lions). The film begins in an outdoor cafe in Lahore in 2011. We meet Changez as he’s being interviewed by an American journalist (Liev Schreiber). Changez makes Bobby promise to listen to and use everything he tells him, not to just pick and choose.
Then we go back ten years and meet Changez at Princeton, being interviewed for a position at a prestigious Wall Street firm. Finding his feet in the competitive finance market, Changez is living the American dream, and having the time of his life. America is his chosen home, the playing field as he would say, is level. Then, whilst on a business trip to Indonesia, two planes are flown into the New York skyline and everything changes. On his return to America, Changez is detained without reason at the airport and comprehensively searched.
Even a suit wearing Pakistani working at a prestigious New York firm discovers that he is not safe from the bigoted, narrow minded Americans who once embraced him.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist however is not an Anti- American film, rather it’s a story of a man trying to find his place in the world, whilst the world descends into insanity around him. Neither American aggression nor Islamic Jihad sit well with Changez, but unfortunately, he seems to be a magnet for both.
The film runs along at a decent clip, slowing down in the middle as Changez struggles with his identity, but this serves to highlight the battle going on in his heart and soul. The jumping back and forth to tell the story works well, slowly painting the complex picture of a man torn between opposing ideologies, and begins the up the tension as the film enters it’s final third, creating an explosive cauldron on unrest and a timely lesson for all of us.
Rating: M Violence,offensive language and sex scenes.