Watch My Son the Fanatic
- 1 hr 27 min
The movie opens with a close-up of a man's face, staring sternly ahead while driving through the bustling streets of Bradford, England. This man is Parvez (Om Puri), a Pakistani immigrant who has lived in the UK for many years and now works as a taxi driver. At first glance, Parvez seems to be living the classic immigrant success story - he has a comfortable home, a loving wife (Gita, played by Gopi Desai), and a teenage son named Farid (Akbar Kurtha) who is doing well in school. But as the story unfolds, it becomes clear that things are not quite so rosy in Parvez's world.
The first hint of trouble comes when Parvez's taxi is hijacked by a group of young British men who demand to be taken to a seedy red-light district. Parvez, who is desperate to appease his customers and earn a good tip, reluctantly agrees to take them there - much to the disgust of his devout Muslim co-worker, who refuses to be a part of such activities. This incident sets the stage for the central conflict of the movie, which is the clash between Parvez's desire for material success and his son's growing religious fundamentalism.
The catalyst for this clash is Bettina (Rachel Griffiths), a German prostitute whom Parvez begins to develop a close relationship with. Bettina, who is a regular customer of Parvez's taxi service, is drawn to him because he is kind and gentle - qualities that are in short supply in her line of work. As the two of them spend more time together, it becomes clear that they have a real connection - something that Parvez's wife notices and finds deeply troubling.
Meanwhile, Farid's teenage rebellion takes a dark turn when he falls in with a group of Islamic extremists who are intent on purging the community of anything they deem un-Islamic. Farid, who used to be a bright and promising student, becomes increasingly erratic and hostile as he falls further under the sway of his radical friends.
As the movie progresses, these two storylines gradually converge, leading to a heart-wrenching confrontation between father and son. Through it all, Om Puri gives a compelling performance as a man torn between his love for his family and his desire to assimilate into British society. Rachel Griffiths is equally impressive as Bettina, bringing nuance and empathy to a character who could easily have been written off as a two-dimensional stereotype.
Overall, My Son the Fanatic is a powerful exploration of the challenges facing immigrants who are caught between two cultures. It grapples with questions of identity, faith, and the tension between tradition and modernity, all while maintaining a sense of humanity and compassion for its characters. It's a movie that refuses to paint anyone as purely good or evil, instead opting for a more nuanced and complex portrait of the immigrant experience. Highly recommended for anyone interested in exploring these themes in depth.
My Son the Fanatic is a 1997 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 27 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.8.