Plot: Based on the best-seller by author Khaled Hosseini, a lifelong bond between two Middle Eastern boys gets thrown into turmoil after a kite-fighting tournament. Years later Amir (Khalid Abdalla) is an author in California, and heads back to Afghanistan to help his old friend and his friend’s son. Who’s it for: Anyone who read the book will want to see this adaptation. The other audience should come from people wanting to expand their knowledge of other cultures.
Expectations: My mom loved the book. I don’t know if this helped or hurt, but I am typically drawn to learning anything about the Middle East, especially if it can be captured in an entertaining film.
SCORECARD Actors: Khalid Abdalla as Amir: Abdalla plays the adult Amir, an author living in America. The wedding is beautiful to watch, with Amir thinking only of the future with his wife. It’s his past that holds the pain, but mainly for his selfish actions. Grade: 7
Homayoun Ershadi as Baba: The father of Amir, Baba is a strong Afghan man who wishes his son followed in his footsteps. It’s tragic to see the life he must lead when they relocate to America. And luckily, the family secret he holds on to his entire life eventually is revealed. Grade: 7
Zekeria Ebrahimi and Ahmad Khan Mahmoodzada as the young Amir and Hassan: The two young boys are definitely the highlight of the film. Their friendship is truly felt, which makes the tragedy that befalls Hassan all the more powerful. For me, the story would have had greater impact if I could have followed Hassan’s life instead of Amir’s. Grade: 8
Talking: Subtitles for the vast majority of the film. It’s good to see Amir finally stand up for himself, it’s just unfortunate we must spend most of the film watching him deal with his guilt. Grade: 6
Sights and sounds: Afghanistan is captured in all its beauty and then all of its tragedy. The kite-fighting scene is difficult to understand simply because I had never heard of it before. A little more history of this competition would have helped, since it was a bounding piece of the entire film. Grade: 7
OVERALL “The Kite Runner” takes us to Afghanistan during the Soviet Union invasion of the late ’70s and then returns us to the land in the late ’80s after the devastation. It’s a horrific life that many of these people have had to live, with examples of men selling their artificial legs for money and orphans living in hideous conditions. It’s a tragic picture, especially with Hassan’s difficult life with his privileged friend Amir watching on. Luckily, Amir returns to Afghanistan to make amends for his actions (or better yet, his non-action) and help Hassan’s son.
Overall Grade: 7