Thursday, January 03, 2008

THE KITE RUNNER - well-made Afghan drama

THE KITE RUNNER is a handsome adaptation of the best-selling novel by Khaled Hosseini. David Benioff's script cuts down the novel into three main episodes that encapsulate the story of two young boys whose friendship plays out against the backdrop of the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in the late 1970s, and much later, the Taliban take-over. The first part sees two best friends playing with kites in Kabul. Amir is a cowardly, sensitive, privileged child. He is protected by his best friend Hassan, an illiterate, servant-boy from a tribe that is looked down upon. The two young actors playing these boys - Zekiria Ebrahimi and Ahmad Khan Mahmoodzada - have real chemistry and you really believe in their friendship. This makes Amir's betrayal of Hassan all the more tragic. The betrayal is never resolved because Amir is smuggled out of Afghanistan with his father when the Russian's invade. We pick up the story when Amir is courting his wife-to-be in California. Khalid Abdalla and Atossa Leoni are convicingly gauche as the young couple but the real joy of this second segment is the acerbic wit of Amir's father (Homayoun Ershadi). It's also fascinating to get an insider's view of the Afghan community in the US. The third part of the film is the most dramatic and moving. Amir returns to Afghanistan under the Taliban to rescue his childhood friend's young son. Marc Forster and his production team recreate Talibani Afghanistan in the mountains of China and they are unsparing. We see an adulterous women stoned to death at a football match. It's quite amazing. You read of stoning in the Bible - as with all those stories it loses its punch with the re-telling - but you realise how radical and relevant the message of that story is when you realise that people are still subject to such ruthless punishment in contemporary society.

Fans of the novel may feel cheated by the necessary abridgement of its themes and content, but Forster and Benioff have produced a swift-paced, engrossing, well-acted and handsomely-produced film. It moves you, but perhaps more importantly, it gives you a glimpse of life in a country that is of key importance in modern politics.

THE KITE RUNNER is on release in the US, Australia and UK. It opens in the Netherlands, Mexico, Germany, Brazil, Norway, Argentina and Singapore in January. It opens in Denmark, Italy, Belgiu, France, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria, Iceland, Romania, Turkey and Finland in February. It opens n Spain, Taiwan and Thailand in March and in Japan on May 31st.

1 comment:

  1. The Kite runner is one of the movies that are so ridiculously bad compared to the novel.