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The Kite Runner Movie Poster

The Kite Runner
Three and a Half out of Five Stars
Genre: Drama
Rated: PG-13
Directed by:
Marc Forster
Starring: Ahmad Khan Mahmidzada, Atossa Leoni, Khalid Abdalla, Ali Dinesh,
Homayon Ershadi, Zekeria Ebrahimi, Shaun Toub
Released by: DreamWorks/Paramount Vantage

In Short: A beautifully shot, well-told adaptation of the best-selling novel, Marc Forster's film may be a bit slow-moving at times, but ultimately is a satisfying cinematic experience.

From Meek to Manly
One Afghan Man’s Life Journey
by Jenny Peters

Marc Forster's film adaptation of Khaled Hosseini's best-selling novel The Kite Runner is a study in contrasts, much like the novel itself. Beginning in San Francisco in 2000, as a young Afghani-American man's first novel is about to be published, the story quickly shifts back to his childhood in Afghanistan. Life for young Amir is good there in the 1970s, for his father is a wealthy man and he has a best friend (Hassan) that worships him.

Together (and along with many of the other boys who live in Kabul), the two boys share an obsession with kite flying and vie to win a citywide contest. But as they taste victory, a terrible incident happens that rips apart their friendship and brands Amir as a coward. Soon after, Russian communists invade, causing Amir and his father to flee to America. As an adult, Amir (well-played by Khalid Abdalla) is haunted by that childhood incident, and as the film reaches its climax, he returns to Afghanistan to confront the past, finally going from meek to manly in the process.

Ahmad Khan Mahmidzada and Zekeria Ebrahimi in The Kite Runner
Khalid Abdalla in The Kite Runner

"The Kite Runner" is a beautifully told story, albeit somewhat slowly paced. Much of the action takes place in Afghanistan and Pakistan (but was actually shot in China as a stand-in for those still-dangerous hotspots), which means that those sections (and some sequences in America, too) are subtitled, when the characters speak variations of the Arabic language.

Forster's film explores many universal human themes while telling a very specific story of one Muslim man whose life is irrevocably changed by childhood events. This movie makes it clear that regardless of religion, nationality or economic circumstance, it is often our earliest experiences that color the rest of our lives.

(Updated 12/14/07 NJ)

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