The Reluctant Fundamentalist – review

Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian:

ScreenHunter_58 Aug. 29 17.31The awful inevitability of Kipling's non-meeting of east and west is the subject of this movie by Mira Nair, which begins the 2012 Venice film festival, adapted from the 2007 novel by Mohsen Hamid. It's a sweeping and heartfelt tale of divided loyalties and reversion to type, in a world where the complacent ideas of globalised capitalism were shattered by 9/11.

This is bold and muscular storytelling with a plausible performance from Riz Ahmed in the lead role – though there is something flabby and evasive in the inevitable equivalence it winds up proposing between Islamic fundamentalism and aggressive American capitalism.

Ahmed is Changez, and if ever a character had a significant name, it's this one. He's a charismatic firebrand professor in Lahore, spreading anti-Americanism among his excitable students, under surveillance by the CIA and suspected of having something to do with the recent kidnapping of an expatriate American academic. And yet when Changez starts telling his life story to American journalist Bobby (Liev Schreiber) we see his troubled life unfold in flashback.

More here.