The Kite Runner begins by introducing Amir, a writer living in San Francisco California who when receiving a phone call from Rahim Kahn an old family friend, is taken back to his childhood in Kabul Afghanistan. Here we meet Hassan who is Amir’s childhood friend as well as a servant boy in Amir’s house. Both Amir and Hassan enjoy flying kites and end up winning a kite fighting tournament. On that same day Amir witnesses Hassan being sexually assaulted by a group of bullies and this ultimately ends up fracturing the friendship permanently. As the film progresses, Amir is persuaded by Rahim to return to Afghanistan after all these years, and it is on his return that he finds out what the Taliban has done to his country and his friend.
Marc Forster who directed The Kite Runner creates a film that is as entertaining as it is thought provoking. Though the film deals with a multitude of serious matters it doesn’t feel preachy or contrived; instead Forster creates a film that speaks to its audience. The storyline is strong from beginning to end, and overall it doesn’t really have flat points. Besides the storyline there are too other things that work in this film, these are the cinematography and the acting.
All of the performances in this film are very strong; starting with Shaun Toub, his performance as Rahim Kahn is one of the most effective in the film. Though he doesn’t play the lead role he does deliver a performance that is one of the most memorable. Homayoun Ershadi also gives a very good performance as Baba, Amir’s father who was a well to do person before he had to flea with his son from Afghanistan. Another performance that also stands out is Khalid Abdulla’s. His performance as Amir is moving, and it is able to transport the audience through a variety of emotions. The performances by Zekiria Ebrahimi and Ahmad Kahn Mahmoodzada who play young Amir and young Hassan are very strong and believable despite their young ages. Some of the more minor performances were as effective as some of the more prominent roles and gave the film a more authentic tone.
The cinematography in the Kite Runner also helped to create a more effective film. The scenes with the kites flying up in the air are approached in a more artistic manner and yet they don’t take away from the story. The special effects that they use in these scenes could have easily been a distraction and deterred from the story but instead it enhances it, and at the same time it is interesting to watch the kites in the sky.
Overall The Kite Runner works on several levels, from the storyline, to the performances, to the cinematography. The film tells a powerful story that resonates even after one has left the theater. It is a film about the things we run away from, the mistakes we make and ultimately about redemption.
* * * *
Weak: 1 Star Average: 2 Stars Good: 3 Stars Very Good: 4 Stars Excellent: 5 Stars