2007 - United States - 128 minutes
Director - Marc Forster
Writer - David Benioff from the novel by Khaled Hosseini
Internet Movie Database User Rating - 7.9/10 - Link to IMDb
My Rating - 4 of 5 Stars

The gang rape of Afghanistan by first the Russians and then the Taliban while the world looked on is the subject of The Kite Runner. These horrors are told through metaphor in the brutal rape of a young boy by a vicious teenager while his best friend looks on and then turns his back.

The story switches back and forth between 1978 Afghanistan and 2000 San Francisco. In 1978, Amir is the young son of a rich and privileged family whose best friend is the servant boy, Hassan. It is Hassan who is raped while Amir looks on and does nothing. In 2000, Amir is a successful author having been given to a college education by his father who now must work as a clerk in a gas station.

Amir's father who stood staunchly against Communism and the Russians managed to arrange for himself and his son to escape the country just as the Russians were invading. He is a brave man of strong principles, but his son appears to be his opposite.

The Kite Runner shows us how Amir was able to overcome past sins and weaknesses and begin to become a strong and principled man as was his father.

Making a movie from an award winning book that has been read by millions is not an easy task, but the creators of this film have certainly done an extraordinary job.

The pre and post Russian and Taliban Afghanistans were expertly created by the production crew - mostly in China.

The acting by the international cast was phenomenal. The boys who played the young Amir and Hassan were both superior in their parts - especially Ahmad Khan Mahmidzada as the young Hassan. His depiction of a boy who gave undying love to his best buddy, even though forsaken, was inspiring and heartbreaking. Zekeria Ebrahimi was perfect as young Amir - a privileged boy who shrinks from his responsibility and then turns on his friend through guilt of his inaction. Both of these Afghan boys give beautiful performances but have suffered for their parts in the movie. Wikipedia informs us:

Because of cultural misunderstandings there has been concern about
the safety of him [Ahmad Khan Mahmidzada] and the other two main
boy actors. Therefore Paramount Pictures relocated them and their
relatives to the United Arab Emirates.

Homayoun Ershadi - an Iranian actor - plays Amir's father. His performance as a strong-willed and brave man doing everything he can to protect his son is inspiring.

Egyptian actor, Khalid Abdalla plays the adult Amir. He has a gift of portraying a wide range of emotions with just his eyes. His performance of a young man who grows to understand his past misdeeds and change to a better self is stirring.

If you watch The Kite Runner you'll see that it is a film that is hard to remove from your thoughts and memory.

Neil Turner
March 31, 2008

The Kite Runner