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The Boston Globe


Movie Review

For ‘Reluctant Fundamentalist,’ more is less

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.

Nuanced and provocative, the story makes what we know of Tamerlan Tsarnaev — apparently self-radicalized after his failure to find acceptance in professional boxing and elsewhere — look like a crude cartoon. Yet the echoes are there, of the promises America offers and the ways they can be denied, of identities adopted and lost to frustration or hate.

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