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The Reluctant Fundamentalist


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#1 Seph7

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 10:25 PM

At a café table in Lahore, a bearded Pakistani man converses with an uneasy American stranger. As dusk deepens to night, he begins the tale that has brought them to this fateful encounter . . .

Changez is living an immigrant’s dream of America. At the top of his class at Princeton, he is snapped up by the elite valuation firm of Underwood Samson. He thrives on the energy of New York, and his budding romance with elegant, beautiful Erica promises entry into Manhattan society at the same exalted level once occupied by his own family back in Lahore.

But in the wake of September 11, Changez finds his position in his adopted city suddenly overturned and his relationship with Erica eclipsed by the reawakened ghosts of her past. And Changez’s own identity is in seismic shift as well, unearthing allegiances more fundamental than money, power, and maybe even love.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist is a riveting, brilliantly unsettling exploration of the shadowy, unexpected connections between the political and the personal.


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#2 Maryann

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 03:21 AM

I was checking when he was on tv and now at&t u-verse has this movie on it's schedule, but you have to pay for it, but there is a free preview which I have not watch yet.



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#3 Maryann

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 03:26 AM

'Reluctant Fundamentalist' loses veil of mystery on film

While there are some good performances by Riz Ahmed, Liev Schrieber and Kiefer Sutherland, and lovely cinematography, the thriller lacks ominous tension and gets mired in heavy-handed messages.

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist,' with Kiefer Sutherland and Riz Ahmed, is based on a 2007 novel.(Photo: Quantrell Colbert, Gannett)


Story Highlights
  • USA TODAY review: ** ½ out of four
  • Stars: Liev Schreiber, Kiefer Sutherland, Riz Ahmed, Kate Hudson
  • Rated R; 2 hours, 10 minutes; opens Friday in select cities
With recent world events still painfully fresh, The Reluctant Fundamentalist sounds like a tale ripped from the headlines.

But it's actually based on a haunting 2007 novel by Mohsin Hamid, told in monologue style. The film (** ½ out of four; rated R; opens Friday in select cities) takes that riveting tale and flattens it, blunting much of the nuance that made it a great read.

Director Mira Nair wrings the complexity out of the lead character, Changez Khan (Riz Ahmed), a young Pakistani man educated at Princeton who eventually becomes a university professor at a university in Lahore.

In the book, Changez spins his personal story to an unidentified American as they sat in a Lahore tea house. It's never revealed just who Changez is speaking to, though there's a mounting sense that it may be an operative who is there possibly to arrest him.

Ambiguity is the cornerstone of the novel and it's what makes it a thought-provoking page-turner.



That ambiguity is missing in the movie, which amounts to a tactical error. And swaths of the plot are changed. Instead of Changez speaking to an unnamed person, he's telling his tale to American journalist Bobby Lincoln (Liev Schreiber), who is also working for the CIA and seeking information on a kidnapped professor. As they speak, Lincoln is getting instruction through an earpiece from a CIA team. Meanwhile, Changez now appears to be the leader of a group of demonstrating Pakistani students.

It might have been tough to pull off the vagueness of the novel in a compelling cinematic fashion, but it would have been fascinating to see a filmmaker try. Instead, a contemplative tale is reduced to what feels like a lesser episode of Homeland.

In the book, the Muslim Changez, is, as the title implies, slowly radicalized for complicated reasons. But whether he's guilty of actual terrorism is unclear.

In the movie, a series of racial profiling incidents simplistically result in Changez's turn to fundamentalism.

Ahmed was a wise casting choice for Changez who, upon his graduation from Princeton, goes to work as a financial analyst. Charismatic and confident, he is mentored by his hard-charging boss Jim Cross (Kiefer Sutherland). He also falls in love with Erica (a miscast Kate Hudson), an artsy American photographer.

Changez becomes increasingly disenchanted with the American dream he had embraced but his mounting disillusionment is rather superficially portrayed.

Ominously, he speaks of smiling when he watched the footage of the World Trade Center attack. It's a chilling admission and perhaps a sign that he plans to embrace terrorism. But that mystery evaporates as Changez emerges as an innocent and it's Bobby, reporter-turned-CIA operative, who makes a fatal blunder.

The message Nair focuses on is the danger of jumping to conclusions in pitched situations. It's a valid message, but deviates from the book's intentional aura of inscrutability.

Declan Quinn's stunning cinematography makes it enthralling it to watch, but the book's probe of cultural identity in an era of globalization is ill-served by making the film a generic espionage thriller.

#4 Seph7

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 05:33 PM

It'll be the DVD for me. It is unlikely to be released in the cinema here.

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#5 Maryann

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 08:04 PM

It is playing now in the Chicagoland area but the theater is on the north side of Chicago, which is like an hour from me. I'm trying to debate if I should go there and see it next week.



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#6 MrsPennThomas

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 04:44 PM

It'll be the DVD for me. It is unlikely to be released in the cinema here.

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I couldn't find anywhere showing the film except a couple of small theatres in London... then I found out the cinema on my uni campus is showing it in September just 2 days after my b'day. :Yes:/> Any out of the way artsy places you could check out?

Now to see if my first post works! :)/>
MrsPennThomas(best at being me)

#7 Seph7

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 12:25 PM

We have a small cinema in town that shows foreign and independent films, but they wouldn't show a film of this potential magnitude. I'll get the DVD.

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#8 sanderella

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 07:38 PM

I read the book twice and watched the film once. I will only say a little about them, because there are adequate reviews elsewhere: one on this page by Time Traveller, and two on Wikipedia, one for the book and one for the film.

 

The book is written in the first person, Changez being both narrator and subject. The American is not identified, and is a passive listener until the last page. The reader is often puzzled by the story, a lot is left unexplained, especially the ending.

 

The film makes more sense for us: it gives the American a name, Bobby, and makes him active in the story. Other characters not in the book are a team of American soldiers. There is a plot and action, and the film has a satisfying conclusion.

 

I preferred the film to the book, although both are good.






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