Flash Movie Review: The Reluctant Fundamentalist

It is one thing to have a first impression of a person; it is another to act on it. When I first meet someone and form a first impression, I consider it a photograph that I stash in an imaginary photo album. After I really get to know the person, it is fun to go back and see how close my first impression was to the real individual. I am reminded of a man who used to be in one of my yoga classes. When he first walked into class I sensed a sudden shift of energy in the room. Several participants quieted down as they warily gazed at the thick, 6+ foot tall imposing figure with shaved head and piercing dark eyes. They were reacting to his looks, assuming he was a certain type of person. In actuality he was a fun, gentle addition to the class. This movie posed a powerful question that involved impressions; it is one of the reasons I went to see it. Riz Ahmed (Four Lions, Shifty) played Changez, a U.S. educated, rising Wall Street star from Pakistan. During one of his business trips abroad, the World Trade Center in New York City was attacked. His return flight back home would bring him to a changed country. Riz was excellent in this role, as was Kiefer Sutherland (Phone Booth, 24-TV) playing Riz’ boss Jim Cross. I thought Liev Schreiber’s (Defiance, Repo Men) role as Bobby Lincoln was an excellent character for him. In what was a total miscast, Kate Hudson (Almost Famous, Bride Wars) was absolutely wrong for the role of Changez’ girlfriend Erica. Not only was her acting poor, I found her character’s story arc ridiculous. With the exception of her, I was able to appreciate what the director and writers were trying to do with this film based on the best selling book. What could have been a thought provoking, powerful movie instead was a film that was too long, filled with melodramatic moments and a sprinkling of intense thrilling scenes. Lesson learned: Do not always believe your first impressions from the movie trailer. Brief scenes with blood in them.


2 1/2 stars

About moviejoltz

From a long line of movie afficionados, one brother was the #1 renter of movies in the country with Blockbuster, I am following in the same traditions that came before me. To balance out the long hours seated in dark movie theaters, I also teach yoga and cycling. For the past 3 years, I have correctly picked the major Oscar winners... so join me as we explore the wonder of movies and search for that perfect 4 star movie.

Posted on May 10, 2013, in Thriller and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Oh, I had high hopes this would be good. Perhaps not so good after all.

  2. When I first read Mohsin Hamid’s ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’ in 2008 I instantly fell in love with it, the narrative, characters, but most importantly by the way the author manages to capture the emotion, without even posing on it. I haven’t seen the film yet, but I am surprised to see so much ‘thrilling action’ in it. Somehow I thought the touching relationship between Changez and Erica should be central to the film (as is the case with the novel). However, I am most horrified at the choice of Erica; the young, sweet, fragile, emotionally damaged Erica from the novel is a complete opposite of Kate Hudson, maybe they meant to cast Kate Hudson as Erica’s mother? lol.

    • Thank you for your comments and I have been waiting for someone who has read the book. How you describe Erica from the book was missing from the Erica in this film. Lol, you may be right that the movie studio meant to cast Kate as the mother. If you at some point do go see this movie, I would enjoy hearing your take of it and how it matched up to the book. Take care.

  3. Richard Gleiner

    My rating as well. I wonder what sort of role Kate Hudson would be good in.

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