Mira Nair’s promising but damped-down tale of cross-cultural identity troubles focuses on Changez Khan (Riz Ahmed), a young upper-middle-class Pakistani whose “American dream” takes him to a Wall Street financial firm just in time for 9/11. Things go downhill from there, both for Changez and the film, as he learns lessons of the “us and them” variety involving his New York girlfriend (Kate Hudson), a conscientious CIA operative (Live Schreiber), and Changez’ father (Om Puri), a Punjabi poet. Ms. Nair, veteran specialist in East-to-West transformations (Mississippi Masala, Vanity Fair), possesses a fine cast of actors and a promising outline, but the writing problems – screenplay by William Wheeler, adapted by Ami Boghani and Mohsin Hamid from Hamid’s novel – doom it to the “well-meaning” file drawer (128 min., 2012, rated R).
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Wall Street capitalist or mujahid? Decisions, decisions.