Rad­i­cal shake-up

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FILM - TARA BRADY

the streets of Man­hat­tan.

The Re­luc­tant Fun­da­men­tal­ist re­lies heav­ily on co­in­ci­dences and con­trivances. Its di­a­met­ric prin­ci­pal char­ac­ters make one think of an overly co-or­di­nated matchy-matchy out­fit; the ris­ing ten­sions and cross­cuts of the fi­nal sec­tion could de­ter­mine the set­tings of an atomic clock; the neat op­po­si­tions be­tween ori­en­tal and oc­ci­den­tal cul­ture might have been culled from Ed­ward Said for Dum­mies.

Much of this loose and ad­mit­tedly imag­i­na­tive adap­ta­tion prob­a­bly seemed more plau­si­ble in Moshin Hamid’s best-sell­ing thriller. A bom­bas­tic score doesn’t help the feel­ing that we’re watch­ing Wall Street 3: The La­hore Con­nec­tion.

For all th­ese caveats, it’s hard to dis­miss Ms Nair’s at­tempts to map out the anatomy of a po­ten­tial ter­ror­ist. The ac­tors, par­tic­u­larly Ahmed and Hud­son, are ex­cel­lent. As ever, Declan Quinn’s cin­e­matog­ra­phy shim­mers ex­actly when it ought to. AndNair’s at­tempts to dis­till global pol­i­tics into neat drama is, for all the soap opera, com­pelling.

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