Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Reluctant Fundamentalist Review - 2 Stars

Writer/director Mira Nair puts her stamp on this story of a young man who leaves his native Pakistan for a scholarship to Princeton.  He excels and works his way into a Wall Street firm run by a rather cold hearted Kiefer Sutherland.  Riz Ahmed gains our attention as the young finance prodigy whose middle class life in Pakistan hardly compares to the wealthy world he discovers in New York.  That world includes a relationship with artist Kate Hudson who meets him while taking photos in Central Park.  The Reluctant Fundamentalist begins in flashback as journalist Liev Schreiber interviews Ahmed, now a professor back in his homeland.  The movie begins on a note of realism, and includes scenes of prejudice aimed at Ahmed after 9/11.  It does best portraying the clash of cultures.  However,  the story starts to unravel into soap opera, particularly when Kate Hudson comes on screen.  She, unfortunately, doesn’t provide much more than a string of cliches.  As we move into the present time, Schreiber’s journalist adds more ho hum to the plot, which concludes like a third hand knock off of “Argo.”  Does it deliver what it promises?  Great promise but unfulfilled.  Is it entertaining?  Sometimes exasperating.  It it worth the price of admission?  Mixed review.