The Reluctant Fundamentalist Thursday, 16 July 2020

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Additional Info

  • Rating:

    M: Mature themes, violence, coarse language and sex scene.

  • The pitch:

    Protests Khan't always facilitate Changez.

  • Starring:

    Riz Ahmed, Liev Schreiber, Kate Hudson, Kiefer Sutherland, Om Puri, Shabana Azmi, Nelsan Ellis, Martin Donovan, Christopher Nicholas Smith, Meesha Shafi, Imaaduddin Shah

  • Directed by:

    Mira Nair

  • Running time:

    130 minutes

  • Rated:

    M (Australia), 15 (UK), R (USA)

  • VIOLENCE/GORE:

    Television footage of Twin-Tower attacks, burning buildings and collapse. A man is kidnapped, held hostage. A woman is pushed, shoved to the ground. Screaming, arguing, yelling. A man is butt-whipped (TV). Ransacked office, stolen car, slashed tyres. Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Pearl Harbour attacks mentioned. A girl is tied by her wrists (opening credits of a television show). Death of thousands of innocents mentioned. A man killed by a hidden bomb, 60 bomb scares mentioned. A woman pushes a servant. A man is wrongfully arrested, intimidated. A man tells a story about the Ottoman-era Jannisaries who were instructed to kill families. People throw petrol bombs, objects. A man hold's a handgun to another man's head, shots are fired, a man is shot and killed, a man is shot in the leg. A car is pelted with objects, people are beaten/threatened with sticks. Blood/gore: Blood on face, nose, head. Bruising, bullet wound. Slit throat seen in photograph. Scar on wrist. Shattered shoulder, ribs broken mentioned. Washing corpse, burial, grieving over dead body.

  • SEX/NUDITY:

    A couple have (implied) sex. Kissing, touching, caressing. Prostitution inferred. Fake boobs mentioned. A man undresses for a strip search.

  • VICES/DRUG USE:

    Alcohol (spirits, champagne, beer, wine). Drink-driving mentioned. Smoking (cigarettes, pipe). Hash mentioned, drug-induced behaviour mentioned.

  • LANGUAGE:

    F-words, s-words. Name-calling. Religious references and exclamations. Religious, gender, cultural, ethnic stereotyping. Anti-Americanism, anti-Muslim sentiment discussed.

  • THEMES:

    Terrorism, capitalism, ambition, foreign policy, hostage crisis, student protest, national identity, xenophobia, financial analysis, personal identity, innocence, freedom, relationships, customs, surveillance, post 911 paranoia, prejudice, tradition, pride.

  • HIDDEN EXTRAS:

    Deceased boyfriend (car accident), iddah mentioned. Wedding, mosque, funeral, burial settings. Flocks of birds, dogs, cows, cat, goats. Plane, open fire. Barbecuing sausages, kebab meat. Undercooked meat, chicken curry mentioned. Malaria mentioned, spitting. Urdu and Arabic dialogue with subtitles. Sky-high aerials over city. Based on best-selling novel by Mohsin Hamid.

  • CRITICS LIKE:

    Beautiful Sufi music and wedding scene. Terrific performances from Riz Ahmed and Kiefer Sutherland. Timely subject-matter, nuanced, provocative. Good re-working of the novel. Provokes countless discussion points, self-reflection.

  • CRITICS DON'T LIKE:

    Obvious character-naming (Changez, the Urdu word for Genghis, for the Muslim; Bobby Lincoln for the American). Weak sub-plots, ending. Uses clichéd plot devices. Sometimes implausible. Flawed treatment.

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