The Kite Runner (2007)

The Kite Runner (2007)

2007 PG-13 128 Minutes


After spending years in California, Amir returns to his homeland in Afghanistan to help his old friend Hassan, whose son is in trouble.

Overall Rating

9 / 10
Verdict: Great

User Review

  • WHAT I LIKED: Most stories are built around a question that you already know the answer to. How is a character going to get through a sticky situation? See and address their flaws? Discover and take the opportunities that we see in front of them? There's a degree of tension and engagement that comes from watching that journey to an inevitable end, but there are some stories that keep their cards close to their chest instead; letting their themes and character arcs evolve organically and unexpectedly.

    A prime example of that different approach is Khaled Hosseini's 'The Kite Runner,' (adapted for the screen by Marc Forster and David Benioff) as it follows a wealthy boy called Amir (Zekeria Ebrahimi) in 1979 Kabul and his friendship with Hazara servant Hassan (Ahmad Khan Mahmoodzada), his adult life (Khalid Abdalla) in America with his father (Homayoun Ershadi) after fleeing the Soviet offensive, and his eventual return to Taliban Afghanistan to rescue Hassan's son. There's no question driving the narrative initially, so at the start you're just engaged by the vibrant, enchanting atmosphere of Kabul, and the fascinating relationship between Amir and Hassan which begins to sour as Amir struggles to reconcile his wealthy position with the racism that Hassan experiences.

    But when we later see a lonely Amir in America with his father working in a petrol station trying in vein to impart his honour and kindness onto strangers as he would have back home, it slowly becomes a story about Amir reconnecting with and standing up for his and his father's roots.
    Despite the fact he clearly loves his Dad and respects many of his cultural customs, from boyhood to manhood Amir initially seems happy to ignore his strong ideals and values; dreaming of becoming a writer of English fiction, and standing by as people bully Hassan. That attitude isn't immediately obvious as a flaw that his arc will address, but certain pushes prompt him to change his ways by returning to Kabul where he ends up rescuing Hassan's son.

    The Taliban shell of Afghanistan that he sees is heartbreaking, but the way he stands up to them for Hassan's son like he never did as a boy creates a moving final-act arc of self discovery and defiance. The kite flying motif that returns at the end is a wonderful way of rounding that out, and altogether it results in a film that sneaks up on you; revealing itself organically into a wonderful and poignant thematic character arc.

    WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: Some of the editing is frustrating.

    VERDICT: For a while, you won't be sure what 'The Kite Runner,' will be about, but that only makes its eventual story of a man standing up for himself and his father's roots all the more organic and compelling.