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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

7/10
Thriller . Drama
 

In New York, a Pakistani native finds that his American Dream has collapsed in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

 
Actors: Riz Ahmed , Kate Hudson , Kiefer Sutherland , Liev Schreiber , Nelsan Ellis , Martin Donovan , Christopher Nicholas Smith , Om Puri , Shabana Azmi , Haluk Bilginer
Directors: Mira Nair
Country: USA , UK , QATAR
Release: 2013-05-03
More Info:
  • Michael O'Sullivan

    The Reluctant Fundamentalist will likely make some people mad because of the way it holds the United States responsible for the repercussions of its actions in the world. Like Changez himself, the film has a complicated relationship with the superpower.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Richard Roeper

    Deliberately ambiguous, The Reluctant Fundamentalist provides just enough answers while leaving us with more than enough questions. It's a film that demands discussion afterward.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    Timeliness is certainly on the side of Mira Nair’s uneven but fascinating The Reluctant Fundamentalist.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Omer M. Mozaffar

    Nair has made a very smart film, whose ambitions sometimes exceed the piece's depths.

    RogerEbert.com Full Review
  • Ella Taylor

    Nair likes to have fun even when her material is somber, and for this movie she deploys a rich palette and a multi-culti but mostly kitsch-free score that fuses old and new with a lovely Sufi devotional piece, and is peppered with Pakistani pop.

    NPR Full Review
  • Richard Corliss

    Nair sleekly manages the story’s thriller aspects, especially the kidnapping. But this is a character study, and she has found some superb actors to fill it.

    Time Full Review
  • Kenneth Turan

    The result inevitably pushes too hard at times and can't help but stray into melodrama, yet the film does an admirable job of transplanting the novel's thoughtful concerns into a fast-moving suspense context.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Jonathan Kiefer

    At times it's dense and sluggish, too much like a novel. But there is some exhilaration to be had.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Marc Mohan

    Since the revelation of Wall Street's culpability for the 2008 economic crisis, though, the arc of Changez's transformation feels almost clichéd, despite Ahmed's earnest, effective performance.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • Sam Adams

    This might be the best week for The Reluctant Fundamentalist to open or the worst, but the timing doesn’t matter when the powder is damp.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Steven Rea

    Despite the charismatic efforts of the British actor Ahmed, The Reluctant Fundamentalist gets bogged down in proselytizing and plot.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Ty Burr

    It’s a simple story, really, but Nair mucks it up with the hot-button suspense of the framing scenes: surging crowds and rooftop standoffs, panicky cellphone calls and crackling walkie-talkies.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Tom Huddleston

    Riz Ahmed is superb as Changez (pronounced Chan-Gez, not like the Bowie song),

    Time Out London Full Review
  • Damon Wise

    Ahmed excels and the set-up is compelling but ultimately this is middle rank stuff from the Monsoon Wedding director.

    Empire Full Review
  • Elizabeth Weitzman

    Though Nair leaves us guessing as to Changez’s motivations, she also uses a pretty heavy hand in laying out the movie’s themes. The changes between the novel and the screenplay are equally unsubtle, especially in regards to the ill-conceived romance.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Stephanie Zacharek

    Although The Reluctant Fundamentalist raises some complicated questions, in the end, it doesn’t challenge that much.

    Film.com Full Review
  • Keith Uhlich

    Ticking-time-bomb suspense is not Nair’s forte, so she relies on Michael Andrews’s Middle East–inflected score to do most of the heavy lifting in the present-day scenes, which feel shapeless and perfunctory.

    Time Out New York Full Review
  • Robert Everett-Green

    It’s a timely narrative subject, but its treatment in The Reluctant Fundamentalist is fundamentally flawed.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Barbara VanDenburgh

    Mira Nair has crafted a handsome but clubfooted film that lurches through predictable hot spots. It most disappoints as a thriller, the flashbacks and voiceovers and romantic entanglements so dominating the proceedings you forget that someone is bound and gagged in real time.

    Arizona Republic Full Review
  • Andrew O'Hehir

    This movie feels a little half-baked to me in the sense that it carries an exceedingly complicated intellectual agenda below the surface of a conventional thriller, and doesn’t execute either level as well as it might.

    Salon.com Full Review
  • Sara Stewart

    Alas, the film’s relevance — and ultimately sane upshot — is buried beneath a meandering and oftimplausible plot.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Abhimanyu Das

    The laziest sort of political cinema, full of straw men and finger-pointing, wrapped up in an awards-friendly bow by its beautiful cinematography and a manipulative world music-y score.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Mike Scott

    Lacks any real sense of vitality. And no matter how worthwhile a film's message is, it's difficult for audiences to care if the path to the payoff so often feels like a slog.

    New Orleans Times-Picayune Full Review
  • Justin Chang

    Mira Nair’s latest immigrant saga saddles itself with a laborious narrative structure and half-baked thriller elements in a misguided attempt to open up what should be an intimate, introspective story.

    Variety Full Review
  • Dana Stevens

    For all the contemporary relevance of the issues it explores, there’s something morally and aesthetically muffled about The Reluctant Fundamentalist: Nair is so busy making sure we never lose sympathy for her handsome and charming protagonist that the film ultimately founders in a tangle of humanist platitudes.

    Slate Full Review
  • Oliver Lyttelton

    Kiefer Sutherland feels somewhat miscast as the mentor, but nowhere near as badly as Hudson is as the love interest. In all fairness, it’s a nightmare of a part, an artist (whose art is, as it turns out, is terrible) haunted by the recent death of her boyfriend, and seemingly unable to read basic human feelings and emotion. But Hudson doesn’t really help things, coming across more often than not as unintentionally funny.

    The Playlist Full Review
  • Manohla Dargis

    By literalizing the idea of American military aggression and all that it implies Ms. Nair doesn’t just invest Mr. Hamid’s story with Hollywood-style beats, she also completely drains it of ambiguity.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Joe Morgenstern

    The movie's failures are all the more unfortunate because they detract from its central and conspicuous success, the performance of Riz Ahmed in the title role. Mr. Ahmed turns the quicksilver quality of the book's internal monologue into a tour de force of his own creation. He's a bright star in a dim constellation.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
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