The Kite Runner (8/10)
by Tony Medley
Although it doesnít put
nearly as much emphasis on the vicious brutality of the Taliban in
Afghanistan as emphatically as Khaled Hosseiniís bestselling book, it
effectively captures the polite ways of the old country and how they are
exported by Afghani expatriates to America.
Amir (Zekiria Ebrahimi) is
an 11-year-old kite flyer in Afghanistan. Hassan (Ahman Khan Mahmoodzada)
is his loyal companion and the one who runs down Amirís kites, the son
of Ali (Nabi Tanha), the servant of Amirís father, Baba (Homayoun
by Homayoun Ershadi and 12-year-old Ahmad Khan Mahmoodzada highlight
screenwriter David Benioff and director Marc Forsterís adaptation into
an insightful tear-jerking movie about a boy who does a despicable act
and his guilty attempt at redemption after he becomes a man.
Iím not sure why
screenwriter David Beniof and director Marc Forster minimized the
despicability of the Taliban that burst from almost every page of the
book when they made the film, but from what appears on the screen you
donít get nearly the feel for the brutality of The Taliban and what life
was like under them. If you havenít read the book you will be unaware of
the way the tone has been changed. But if you are a reader of the book,
you will probably come away disappointed, as did I. Make no mistake, the
film is entertaining and well done with superb acting. But it was a far
cry from making the impact on me that the book did.
Thatís not the only change
from the book. There is a fight near the end of the film. This was the
climax of the book and it took many, many pages to describe it. If you
blink during the film, you might miss it.
That said, Iím a stickler
for the concept that a film must stand on its own and shouldnít be
judged by comparison with the book or play from which it might be
derived, and this one passes this test of independence with flying
Both little boys give
admirable performances, but Mahmoodzada does such a remarkable job that
he should qualify for a Best Supporting Actor nomination. Similarly,
Ershadi stands out as Amirís Baba.