“The Kite Runner” (2007) – 4/5 Stars


Sometimes a good story is all a film needs to be successful. Khaled Hosseini’s novel is one of those stories and with a more-than-competent director in charge, “The Kite Runner” was set to fly as a film. Maybe not as high as one might expect, but there’s nothing but quality storytelling being done here.

“The Kite Runner” is the touching story of an Afghan-American man named Amir (Khalid Abdalla) who reflects on a childhood friendship with a boy named Hassan, who was the son of his father’s servant. Years later in America (having fled Afghanistan when the Soviets invaded in the ’70s), Amir is a successful novelist but one of his father’s old friends calls him and begs him to return. He agrees and once there, learns something new about his old friend Hassan, the boy he childishly tried to distance himself from out of fear.

David Benioff, who adapted “Troy” and collaborated with director Mar Forster (“Finding Neverland”) on 2005 thriller “Stay,” puts together a strong adaptation, but not an exceptionally creative one. The film is written in three acts: Amir and Hassan as children in Kabul, Amir and his father in America and Amir returning to Afghanistan. Each is effective in its own way, but there’s a definite lack of conflict written into the structure. Each “act” has its own dramatic moments, but if they were woven together a bit more intricately, the full effect of Hosseini’s story could be felt.

Regardless, Forster really makes this a visually stunning film for one that isn’t very dependent on visuals having come from a book. Cinematographer Roberto Schaefer, who has collaborated with Forster on all his major projects, manages to turn China into Afghanistan and Pakistan while still capturing the full extent of the landscape. The film in general just has a very bold, rich and realistic feel to it. Hard to explain, but between the lens quality, the lighting and Forster’s framing, “Kite Runner” just feels more professional. Even the kite- flying scenes, which are entirely CGI, give the film a more majestic quality.

Although adventurous creativity and cinematic risk-taking is decidedly lacking, everyone working on this film has found a way to tell the story in a satisfying and effective way. The film gets the most out of its actors and the most out of its crew, delivering a film experience that will leave its viewers with warm and fuzzy feeling, just not an eye-opening and stimulating one.

4/5 Stars

“The Kite Runner”
Directed by: Marc Forster
Written by: David Benioff (screenplay), Khaled Hossieni (novel)
Starring: Khalid Abdalla


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