Before this film came out many had read and loved the book and many others had heard about the controversies that occurred during filming. With this much hype kudos should be given to director Marc Forster (Stranger Than Fiction, Finding Neverland) for accomplishing everything he did with this film, but with his stellar track record was there really any doubt?
Amir (Zekeria Ebrahimi) and Hassan (Ahmad Kahn Mahmidzada) are two Afghani boys who are the best of friends. They grow up together. One of their favourite activities is flying a kite. One day Hassan is confronted by some bullies who want their kite, but as he has made a promise to Amir to never give it up he won't. The bullies assault Hassan physically and sexually. Once Amir finds this out he shuns his best friend.
Having left Afghanistan as an adult to live in the U.S., Amir comes back to his native country after Hassan dies and leaves his son to Amir. Amir wants to do this as he feels guilty for having rejected his friend as a young boy. The Afghanistan that Amir returns to is not the same country he left as it is now controlled by the Taliban. Finding Hassan's boy becomes a rescue mission.
Forster really is a director of diverse talents. He certainly has not boxed himself in when it comes to the types of films he does. From fantasy to reality Forster does it all well. A story of this sorts requires a gentle hand and Forster really just lets the story tell the story. He does not meddle much in this touchy subject and that is really for the best. The film is cast well, the score is beautiful and the cinematography is breathtaking in parts.
Despite the fact that the film was not shot in Afghanistan it gives the viewer plenty of insight into Afghani culture and politics. This is both interesting and shocking. Middle Eastern traditions are depicted with respect. The main reason why the film is so moving and just works is because of the universality of the themes within it such as friendship, courage, family values, and human behaviour.
The film is touching and causes emotional reactions in all who have seen it. While it is a film that is sad it is one that you will want to watch more than once and will leave a lasting impression.
-Words from The Kite Runner
-Images from The Kite Runner
– Public Service Announcement with Khaled Hosseini