For ‘Reluctant Fundamentalist,’ more is less

Kiefer Sutherland (left) and Riz Ahmed star in “The Reluctant Fundamentalist.”
Kiefer Sutherland (left) and Riz Ahmed star in “The Reluctant Fundamentalist.”Ishaan Nair/IFC Films

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Whether it’s a case of life imitating art or art imitating life, “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” makes for queasy but fairly worthy viewing less than a month after the Boston Marathon bombings. The new film by Mira Nair (“Monsoon Wedding”), based on the acclaimed 2007 novel by Mohsin Hamid, concerns a young Pakistani man, Changez (Riz Ahmed), who has attained the American dream at 25 only to find it crumbling in his hands in the post-9/11 landscape.

Ambiguity is at the heart of the novel, but Nair is never quite sure what to do with it. A quiet character study has been given a high-stakes political-thriller frame, and not for the best, although Ahmed is immensely appealing as a fundamentally compassionate man wrestling with conscience, dignity, and identity. With Kate Hudson, Liev Schreiber, and Kiefer Sutherland.

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