How does one assimilate into American life? How would one be un-assimilated? That appears to be the story in the upcoming Mira Nair-directed The Reluctant Fundamentalist. Riz Ahmed stars as a Pakistani immigrant who is molded by the cocksure financial environment of 1990s New York City, but after 9/11, that identity is stripped away from him by a country that will only look at him with suspicion.
Based on Moshin Hamid's novel, The Reluctant Fundamentalist screened at the Doha Tribeca Film Festival back in November and is on its way to theaters this spring. It's another chance for Ahmed to show his stuff, after being so celebrated in the 2010 terrorism farce Four Lions. He's surrounded by a collection of faces more familiar to American audiences, including Liev Schrieber as the reporter telling Ahmed's story, a dark-haired Kate Hudson as his love interest, and Kiefer Sutherland as a slick-suited Wall Street type.
For Nair, it's a return to feature filmmaking for the first time since 2009's Amelia, though the more appropriate touchstone might be 2006's The Namesake, which also reflected on the challenges of being caught between cultures. Look for it in theaters on April 26th.