The Kite Runner (12a)
Marc Forster, the director, through his ability to set a story on a broad canvas and turn it into something intensely personal, creates a film that is as entertaining as it is thought provoking. Though the film deals with a multitude of serious matters it doesn’t feel preachy or contrived. The storyline is strong from beginning to end, and overall it doesn’t really have flat points. There are two other things that excel in this film, the cinematography and the acting.
The Kite Runner begins by introducing Amir, a writer living in San Francisco California who when receiving a phone call from Rahim Kahn an old family friend, is taken back to his childhood in Kabul. Here we meet Hassan who is Amir’s childhood friend as well as a servant boy in Amir’s house. Both Amir and Hassan enjoy flying kites and end up winning a kite fighting tournament. On that same day Amir witnesses Hassan being attacked by a group of bullies, without intervening, and this betrayal ultimately fractures the friendship permanently. As the film progresses, Amir is persuaded by Rahim to return to Afghanistan after all these years, and it is on his return that he finds out what the Taliban has done to his country and to his friend.
The cinematography including breath-taking aerial scenes flying over Kabul brilliantly creates the colour, atmosphere and sights of a specific time and place, despite being shot mainly in China
All of the performances in this film are very strong; starting with Shaun Toub, his performance as Rahim Kahn is one of the most effective in the film. Though he doesn’t play the lead role he does deliver a performance that is one of the most memorable. Homayoun Ershadi also gives a very good performance as Baba, Amir’s father who was wealthy before he had to flee with his son from Afghanistan. Another performance that also stands out is Khalid Abdulla’s. His performance as Amir is moving, and it is able to transport the audience through a variety of emotions. The performances by Zekiria Ebrahimi and Ahmad Kahn Mahmoodzada who play young Amir and young Hassan are very strong and believable despite their youth. The minor performances were as effective as some of the more prominent roles and gave the film an authentic tone.
Overall The Kite Runner works on several levels, from the storyline, to the performances, to the cinematography. The story about the things we run away from, the mistakes we make, and ultimate redemption, resonates long after the end of the performance.
Marc Forster | USA | 2007 | 128 minutes | 12a