Monday, April 10, 2017

Movie Monday: The Reluctant Fundamentalist

The Reluctant Fundamentalist
When opportunity arises, I feature Movie Monday. I recognize few people have the time or desire to read the amount I do, especially when it comes to the 100 Best Novels list. Luckily, Hollywood loves adapting a classic and I love a good story in any form.

Film Title: The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Release Year: 2012

Summary: Changez came to the United States to study and then took a job in the business world. However, the American way increasingly conflicted with his Pakistani roots. Now, the United States is trying to figure out how far he has descended into fundamentalist ideals and if he is a risk to the country he once called home. 

What I Thought: I read this book back in 2014 and found it very thought provoking. It challenged some perceptions I had as a post-9/11 American. These days, I think it's more relevant than ever. 

So, when Kevin and I were scrolling through the Netflix queue the other night and happening upon this movie, which I placed there years ago, I was happy to finally see the film adaptation of such a thoughtful book. 

First off, let me say, this movie has a great cast. I love Liev Schreiber in about everything. While I have a hard time seeing Kiefer Sutherland as anyone but Jack Bauer (even in his new show, Designated Survivor), he really did a nice job here. Riz Ahmed does not have the name recognition of his costars, but his performance was great. He did a nice job striking the ambiguous tone of Changez's character. You can't tell which side he will end up on, just as in the book, and I liked that. 

Other than that, though, I found this movie pretty bland. I get why it was not a box office hit. The thoughtful reflections of the book just don't translate well to the screen, despite the cast. They tried to make a thriller out of something that did not belong in that genre. The weighty elements of the book felt watered down by interjections of faux danger. It all just fell flat for me. 

Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Will I Re-Watch: Doubt it.

A Reduced Review: This film just did not hold the same power as the written story. Despite the impressive cast, I'm not surprised it was a box office flop. 

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