A young Pakistani man is chasing corporate success on Wall Street. He finds himself embroiled in a conflict between his American Dream, a hostage crisis, and the enduring call of his family'... Read allA young Pakistani man is chasing corporate success on Wall Street. He finds himself embroiled in a conflict between his American Dream, a hostage crisis, and the enduring call of his family's homeland.A young Pakistani man is chasing corporate success on Wall Street. He finds himself embroiled in a conflict between his American Dream, a hostage crisis, and the enduring call of his family's homeland.
Changez Khan (the very handsome and very fine actor Riz Ahmed) lives with his poet father Abu (Om Purl) and mother Ammi (Shabana Azmi) in Pakistan. The family is poor but educated and Changez decides to go to America to find his place in the corporate world of money and success - and help support his family (his sister is ready to marry but the family can ill afford a traditional wedding). Changez arrives in America, attends university, and rises rapidly, gaining a position with a Wall Street company that specializes in financial advising for business internationally. The head of the company Jim Cross (Kiefer Sutherland) personally picks Changez after testing his skills and sends Changez on missions to the Philippines etc where he examines the finances, cuts waste (and jobs of workers) and makes the businesses run efficiently, increase profits, but sacrificing the working class. On one such mission Changez is asked to analyze a publishing house in Istantbul, the owner Nazmi (Haluk Bilginer) has translated Changez' fathers poetry into Turkish, and pleads with Changez not to destroy his publishing house. Cross demands Changez shut it down and Changez refuses and submits his resignation. As he prepares to pack to return, jobless, to the US he is watching television and the twin towers of 9/11 are being attacked. His attempts to return to the US are met with police and airport interrogations since he is not a native born American, and this allows the viewer to witness the horrible and demeaning treatment 'foreigners' received in the wake of 9/11.
Changez does return to New York and has another setback with his photographer artist girlfriend Erica (Kate Hudson), herself deeply bruised by the loss of her lover in a car crash she caused in the recent past, who has an art opening that includes videos and images of bits of conversation she has shared with Changez - information which in the exhibition further underlines the concept of Changez as a potential terrorist. Changez flees to Pakistan, becomes an anti-violence but fiery professor whose students seek to rid their Pakistan of the American intruders. And this is where the conversation at film's beginning ultimately makes sense (it is now 2011). The manner in which the film ends is left for the viewer to experience. As in the book there are many sidebar stories and characters that underline the stories of both Bobby (who has been talked into joining the CIA) and Changez who moves from his love of the American Dream and his sweetheart, to his spiritual commitment to his Pakistan. These characters, as well as many others in this film, allow us to see there is no one way to view acts as right or wrong. It is all perception and hopefully this brilliant film will assist us in understanding the confusion that deeply affects us all everyday as we walk around the topic of terrorism. Grady Harp, May 13
- May 2, 2013