Films that have dealt with the events of 9/11 tend to focus on the bravery of the people who were there, while a far less popular topic is the wave of xenophobia that swept through the nation, the profiling and harassment of millions of innocent dark-skinned American citizens (Muslim or otherwise) who had no more of a connection to terrorism than the white people who were automatically above suspicion. Based on Moshin Hamid's novel, director Mira Nair's The Reluctant Fundamentalist examines this issue through the evolution of a Pakistani man in New York named Changez (Riz Amhed), a wealthy financial analyst for a Bain Capital-style company who finds his life falling apart after 9/11. The casual racism he'd always tolerated now being amplified into random arrests and getting spat upon by Joe The Plumber-style patriots begins to breed the nagging feeling that maybe, just maybe, the terrorists had a point. Now a radical college professor in Pakistan, Changez tells his story in flashback to journalist Bobby (Liev Schrieber), while the CIA desperately searches for a kidnapped American citizen. The Reluctant Fundamentalist turns into a pulse-pounding spy thriller by the end, but above all it's a reminder of how America's tendency to villify innocent people can indeed turn them into villains, whether they want to be or not.
Join My Voice Nation for free stuff, film info & more!