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"The Reluctant Fundamentalist" Film Review

Updated on April 12, 2015
Riz Ahmed and Live Schreiber in Lahore
Riz Ahmed and Live Schreiber in Lahore
Kiefer Sutherland and Riz Ahmed
Kiefer Sutherland and Riz Ahmed
Riz Ahmed and Kate Hudson
Riz Ahmed and Kate Hudson

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Mira Nair's latest film tells the story of Changez Khan, a young Pakistani man played by Riz Ahmed, who comes to Princeton, lands his dream job at a leading N.Y. investment bank that resembles Goldman Sachs or private equity firm Bain Capital and falls for a young American artist played by Kate Hudson.

Changez is mentored by one of the investment bank's slimy partners played admirably by Kiefer Sutherland and is promoted to become the youngest associate in the firm's history. Between his success at the firm and with his artist girlfriend what more could he ask? Then comes the 9-11 attack on the World Trade Center and subsequent humiliating experiences at the hands of police, FBI and fellow bank employees which begin to alienate Changez's affection for America and his dream investment bank career.

Shortly, the scene shifts to a restaurant in Lahore, Pakistan, where Changez is meeting with an idealistic American writer who seeks his help saving a writer who has been kidnapped and held by terrorists. Changez has quit his investment banking job and is now a professor at a university in Lahore with a following of radical students. In scenes shifting back and forth between Lahore and his life as a banker in New York, Changez tells the story of his conversion from fundamentalist American capitalist to "reluctant" fundamentalist Islamist. Anyone who watches the movie with an open mind will come away with an improved understanding of the mentality of participants in the current struggles in Afghanistan and elsewhere in that part of the world.

Live Schreiber abley plays the part of the American writer who is tasked with enlisting Changez's help in saving the life of his friend who was kidnapped by terrorists. Kate Hudson was less convincing to me as Changez's N.Y. artist girlfriend. The movie is well worth watching for anyone concerned about current world issues such as how ordinary young men become Muslim fundamentalist terrorists. (Mira Nair's previous films, most notably Salaam Bombay and Monsoon Wedding have won numerous awards.")

Rated R



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    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 4 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Karen and Robie, thanks for your comments. The movie is a serious exploration of how or why some people become terrorists.

    • robie2 profile image

      Roberta Kyle 4 years ago from Central New Jersey

      Thanks for reviewing this one, Ralph. I think it is a must see for me. It has always seemed to me that things make sense to the people who do them, even if the don't make sense to the rest of us. I am as baffled by radical Islamist suicide bombers as I am by theoretically Christian pastors who burn Korans and banksters who nearly bring down the world financial system and don't have a clue that they have done anything immoral. It is always good to get inside the head of the other guy and books and movies are wonderful as ways to do that. I may wait till this is available on Amazon or Netflix, but I will definitely see it. Thanks for the heads up.

    • Karen Hellier profile image

      Karen Hellier 4 years ago from Georgia

      Interesting synopsis of the movie. Now that I have read this, I am not sure I want to watch the movie, but I thank you for the summary because now I have a better idea of what the movie is about. Voted up and interesting.