"The Kite Runner"
Directed by Marc Forster.
Written by David Benioff. Based on the novel by Khaled
Starring Khalid Abdalla, Homayoun Ershadi, Zekeria Ebrahimi and
Ahmad Khan Mahmidzada.
Release Year: 2007
Review Date: 12/19/07
Hey, I won't lie to you--I had very high
hopes for "The Kite Runner", and sadly, I was disappointed by this
film thanks mainly to a slightly twisted idea...I was thinking this
film would be about two kids and a traumatic, horrible event that
would shape the rest of their adult lives, and I was WAY wrong!
"The Kite Runner" follows two kids living in
Kabul in 1978: there's Amir (Zekeria Ebrahimi), the son of an
activist and generally-speaking wealthy guy named Baba (Homayoun
Ershadi), and there's Hassan (Ahmad Khan Mahmidzada), the son of
Baba's estate caretaker and Amir's best buddy. They spend
their days reading stories, running around or flying kites, where in
a two-man operation they fly kites but also compete to "cut" other
kids' kites in order to show air superiority of a way-different
nature. Hassan has an uncanny ability to track or run down
opponents' cut-down kites--this is not unlike collecting scalps,
although it's never quite referenced that way--and one day while
running down an opponent's kite, he is assaulted by three kids even
though Amir witnesses the act and does nothing to help his friend.
Fast forward 22 years later, and Amir (now
played by Khalid Abdalla) is living in San Francisco and is on the
eve of publishing his first book when he gets a phone call from an
old family friend; apparently, the adult Hassan has recently died
and his son has been recruited into the Taliban...and, this old
family friend needs help breaking this kid out of terrorist training
school. Since Amir sold out his buddy so long ago, he agrees
to come to Pakistan (since everyone has left Afghanistan) to help
The big problem I had with "The Kite Runner"
wasn't the setup or the ending; no, it was the middle, which is
mainly following the adult Amir and his father from escaping Commies
in Afghanistan to living in different parts of Florida, to Amir
getting married to his struggles dealing with his dad's racist
friends. Maybe this was very interesting in the book, but I
was struggling to see how Amir was dealing with his childhood
transgressions, at least in terms of what I was seeing onscreen.
This may have been lost in translation from the book, but whatever
the reason, a two-hour movie that takes an hour to follow the adult
version of the guy we are hoping to see change would be better if
our lead would show some remorse for his past mistakes, which I
didn't notice here.
Also, many of the scenes just feel a bit
stiff, not nearly emotional enough given the material. This
may be on the child actors here; I thought that generally, Ebrahimi
and Mahmidzada were just so-so. The flow of the film in the
middle was not great; it just felt like we were getting random
snippets from the book at one point, as opposed to telling a real
transformation of the Amir character. In fact, given the
material, I was surprised that "The Kite Runner" didn't impact me
emotionally more than it ended up doing.
This is another in a long line of
book-to-film adaptations that made me leave the theater saying "I'll
bet that the book is REALLY badass!"
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard