The Kite Runner (2007)

the kite runner

“For you, a thousand times over.”

The Scoop: 2007, PG-13, directed by Marc Foster and starring Khalid Abdalla, Atossa Leoni, and Homayoun Ershadi

Tagline: There is a way to be good again.

Summary Capsule:
Young man who really screwed up has a shot at redemption.

Lissa’s rating: Ouch.  Just… ouch.

Lissa’s review: I’ve been meaning to read The Kite Runner for ages, and as a result, I refused to watch the movie before I’d read the book.  The movie is never as good as the book (Lord of the Rings excepted, where I actually liked the movie better than the book), and I really wanted to be able to read it without comparing.  However, anyone with small children knows that reading gets put on the back burner, and so it took me a few years to even pick the book up, despite knowing in advance I would love it.  But finally I read it, and I would say I’ve never read a more heart-rending, painful book, but I’ve since been reading A Thousand Splendid Suns, and if The Kite Runner broke your heart, A Thousand Splendid Suns will smash it into a thousand tiny pieces.

Anyway, I finished, so we finally rented the movie.  And to save you the conclusion, this is one of the few times where I thought the movie was just about as good as the book, and in some ways, even more painful to watch than to read.

The Kite Runner is a story set in Afghanistan, about two boys – Amir and Hassan – who are friends despite their differences in social class.  But Afghanistan is far from a peaceful place, and people can be jerks everywhere.  When Hassan is very brutally attacked by some older boys, Amir doesn’t save him, and the guilt of that haunts him throughout his life.

It’s an incredibly powerful, painful story that is told in shades of grays.  My heart went out to Amir through the whole story, because although some of the things he does are wrong, they’re also understandable.  We’d all like to be heroes, but Amir isn’t; he’s simply human.  And the movie very much captures that aspect of Amir and his tale.

The movie was an excellent adaptation.  While yes, it did leave some things out, I have to admit I was relieved.  The Kite Runner is such a harrowing book that removing some of the horrible things that happen from it isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  But aside from the movie staying true to the plot and the characters, I found the movie almost essential for me.

I’m rather fascinated by the Middle East.  It’s such a different life and culture from our own, and I really would love to visit there some day.  Unfortunately, I probably won’t.  I’d love it if someday that area of the world was peaceful enough that I’d feel safe doing so, but I’m afraid it won’t be.  Not for a long time, anyway.  And since I don’t see myself having a job that takes me there… yeah.  But actually seeing Afghanistan (okay, a representation of Afghanistan, as the film was made largely in China) made the story take root better in my mind.  Especially from the moment I saw Baba (Homayoun Ershadi), and he looked exactly as I pictured him… yeah.

I really don’t have any bones to pick with this movie.  I don’t know if it’s just that Khaled Hosseini’s writing is just that powerful to me, or if its because there really aren’t any big bones to be picked.  Acting’s good, production seems decent… nothing pulled me out of the story, aside from the occasional points where the yellow subtitles were set against light colors and hard to read.  I think this is one of those movies and stories where it’s very hard for me to be impartial, because it just affected me so much.

I don’t remotely think you needed to read the book in order to follow the movie.  The themes explored of friendship, courage, personal responsibility, and the cruelty and greatness of humanity are universal.  But I definitely think it’s a movie worth seeing, and a book very worth reading.

"Really?  Ron is Dumbledore?  Are you sure they got this translation right?"

Didja Notice?

  • I really didn’t come up with much for this section, and because I keep sitting on it I’m not posting the review.  So heck with it – I just noticed it was an awesome movie.

Groovy Quotes:

Young Hassan: For you, a thousand times over

Baba: There is only one sin, only one. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft… When you kill a man, you steal a life. You steal his wife’s right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness.

Baba: The Mullahs want to rule our souls… and the Communists tell us we don’t have any.

If You Liked this Movie, Try:

  • Atonement
  • My Own Private Idaho
  • Persepolis

One comment

  1. There are a few countries in the Middle East that are safe and aren’t ruined by development and tourism (like some parts of the UAE). Oman is a lovely country that is worth visiting.

    The Kite Runner was okay, but I thought the acting was atrocious at times, especially Amir as an adult.

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