Consciously balancing out the America-centric viewpoint of ‘Homeland’ and ‘Zero Dark Thirty’, Mira Nair’s adaptation of Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid’s bestselling novel is a broad but very watchable overview of the battle lines in the war on terror. Riz Ahmed is superb as Changez (pronounced Chan-Gez, not like the Bowie song), the middle-class kid from Lahore whose Stateside education leads to a job with a prestigious Wall Street firm and a date with the boss’s daughter (Kate Hudson). But when disaster strikes in the form of two hijacked passenger planes, Changez finds his adopted home turning against him, and doubts about his personal sympathies growing.
There’s much to enjoy in ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’: fine photography, juicy supporting turns from Kiefer Sutherland and Om Puri, and a powerfully sustained sense of a man adrift in a world going mad. But Nair’s customary absence of subtlety does lead to the occasional howler – a scene at hipster Hudson’s art installation is particularly cringeworthy – and the conclusions she draws are fuzzy at best.