Fundamentalist tells the tale of Pakistani protagonist Changez (played expertly by Riz Ahmed , a savvy-yet-earnest young man who makes his way from the streets of Lahore, Pakistan, to Princeton University in pursuit of the American Dream. His quick wit and intelligence help him to rise quickly in the ranks of Wall Street after being recruited by financial hot shot Jim (Kiefer Sutherland), and for a while, he’s living an enviable life — buoyed by an impressive paycheck, increasingly exclusive social circles, and an artsy girlfriend (Kate Hudson).All I want to say is...Riz Ahmed (and Mira Nair) better walk off with a ton of awards for this film.
But then 9/11 happens, and Changez’s life begins to unravel as he grapples with the realities of being an “other” in a country that had become his home. There are uncomfortable scenes (one in which Changez is ordered to strip completely for customs officials is particularly demeaning) and some all-too-familiar instances of exoticism. Overall, however, Nair’s aim is not just to highlight post-9/11 injustices, but also to understand the interconnected web of cause-and-effect that creates that “otherness” divide.
Other films that have tried to capture the feel of New York City post-9/11 have fallen short, Nair added, because the way the narratives are presented, “it’s not a conversation, it’s a monologue. I wanted to create something modern, a dialogue about 9/11.”What do you think?
“I always want to answer the question, ‘Who is the other?’ and make that ‘other’ palpable,” Nair explained. “And in light of the kind of danger we live in, it’s about time we start knowing each other.”
~ Joyce Chen, "Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist Is A True Conversation Piece"
|God, I love his eyes|