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Published May 29th 2013
Image from Wikipedia
What a thought provoking movie this is. In a world where we value equality and fairness, along comes this insight into how perception could justify inequality and the effect of that on an individual, a cultural group and wider society.
Changez is a bright Pakistani young man who is hungry for success. After studying at Princeton, he lands a dream job on Wall Street. He is living the American Dream, complete with artist girlfriend But life changes dramatically after the Twin Towers are attacked and he finds himself the victim of bullying and mistaken identity. He is arrested, strip searched, interrogated, and alienated from his colleagues.
The story is based on a novel released in 2007 of the same name and became an international bestseller, with over a million copies in print.
You can't help but feel sorry for Changez. The movie and the book are from his perspective. You can understand how he becomes cynical and tougher as time goes on, and 'all the soft parts of himself' slip away.
The acting is exceptional, with Kate Hudson playing Changez's girlfriend, Riz Ahmed as Changez, Shabana Azmi as Ammi, Liev Schreiber as Bobby, Kiefer Sutherland as Jim and Om Puri as Abu. It is directed by Mira Nair, whose award winning films include The Namesake, Mississippi Masala and Monsoon Wedding.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist has had mixed reviews, with some commentators saying it is too simplistic, and others saying the director skilfully transforms a monologue into an engaging plot.
I really enjoyed it. The storyline was thought provoking, the scenery was beautiful, and the characters were believable. The movie ran a little long and the ending left me with more questions, but other than that I was engaged. I'd recommend it for those that enjoy strategic thrillers, great acting and imagery.