A boldly dramatic adaptation of the remarkable, award-winning Mohsin Hamid novel, director Mira Nair brings The Reluctant Fundamentalist to the screen with both passion and insight.
We begin in 2011 in Lahore. At an outdoor café a Pakistani man named Changez (Riz Ahmed) tells Bobby (Liev Schreiber), an American journalist, about his experiences in the United States. Roll back ten years, and we find a younger Changez fresh from Princeton, seeking fortune and glory on Wall Street. The American Dream seems well within his grasp, complete with a smart and gorgeous artist girlfriend, Erica (Kate Hudson). But when the Twin Towers are attacked, a cultural divide slowly begins to crack open between Changez and Erica. (‘How does that happen?’ Erica asks of the terrorist attacks. ‘What makes you think I’d know?’ he answers.) Changez’s dream soon begins to slip into nightmare: profiled, wrongfully arrested, strip-searched and interrogated, he is transformed from a well-educated, upwardly mobile businessman to a scapegoat and perceived enemy. With time, he begins to hear the call of his own homeland.
Ahmed gives a magnificently textured performance as the aptly named Changez, whose attitude evolves from an eager willingness to assimilate to a deep dejection with his adopted country. Ahmed and his castmates – among them Kiefer Sutherland and Om Puri – are aided greatly by Nair’s assured direction and a superb script from Ami Boghani, William Wheeler and Hamid himself. The story they tell is one of profound global implications.
– Toronto International Film Festival