The Reluctant Fundamentalist book was turned into a movie in 2012. Some might say it was brilliantly made to represent the book in a very creative type of manner, but to be completely clear right away; I have never in my life hated a movie based on a book more than I hate the Reluctant Fundamentalist’s movie.
Words can barely explain my anger, but I’ll try. First of all, there is a difference between starting a movie “in medias res” and starting it “in medias mess”. From start to finish I could barely cling onto the little drop of information you get, and this coming from someone who actually has read the book. For example, when Erica gets upset twice because she is with Changez while still loving her dead ex-boyfriend, someone who did not read the book do not even understand the tiniest bit of sad that she actually is, because the film does not at all represent the relationship she had with him before he died! Her ex is one of the biggest parts of her character and you get none of that from the movie! What a waste.
Speaking of waste, I did not know Changez had to turn into Jafar in order to make the movie exciting enough. In the book there is a perfect balance of distrust between the American and mister Jafar here. They are both just tense enough for the excitement to go on throughout the book until the ending. They both acted suspicious, but they were still polite and kept on going with the night. In the movie Jafar the evil genius is constantly under surveillance and they see him as the bad guy, while the American is such a good dude looking for his old mate who disappeared. Hm, I wonder who ended up shooting an innocent in the end? I mean where the book could have made the movie bloom so much more, there is unnecessary scenes of people yelling and running around making the movie even more messy than it already is!
Now, one of my biggest issue with the whole film is the prioritizing of those who are deemed important and those who are not. Jim is such a big character in the book and you basically read about him being here and there in so many of the chapters, but in the movie? No, there he is apparently not. Because it is apparently more important to watch the American and Jafar fuss about which on of them is in the right. The whole thing the director made about an American professor being missing is so unnecessary to make it interesting. The book is about Changez’ life, and how he is telling the American about it. And I do not know about you, but to me his life is more interesting than most, and adding so many scenes of things that never took place in the book is so far out of character it feel unnecessary to the highest degree there is.
I have already expressed some of my frustration with Erica and the gaping, black, hole where the info about her character should be, but I feel that I have not yet thoroughly enough yelled a bit about how the character acts and looks like. The biggest appeal about her, which draws mister Changez Jafar Khan towards her is how she is such a typical, but untypical, twentysomething year old. In the book she struts around in shorts and tank tops while being very muscular and fit. She lives with her parents in a penthouse apartment and has dark secrets around her. In the movie she is boring as boring can be. She has no mystery, no deep dark past and no appeal. The book version of Erica gave me goosebumps for days, while the movie version has already started fading from my bored memory. A little backstory would be nice eh, director?
To sum up, the film was tiresome, messy, unnecessary and starved from the lack of info it could have had. A little context never hurt nobody. I hate it with all of my heart and would rather learn every bee pun made in the bee movie, than to ever see ten minutes of that movie.