Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Kite Runner (Based on the novel by Khaled Hosseini)

The book The Kite Runner is the very first novel by Author Khaled Hosseini published in 2003. It is so well written that it is adapted into a movie of the same name in 2007 by Director Mark Forster. Wow! What an accomplishment!

The book was highly recommended, however, I watched the movie first and I was thoroughly impressed!

The movie is set mostly in Kabul, Afghanistan where two boys become friends as close as brothers: Amir (Zekiria Ebrahimi) the son of a successful business man, and Hassan (Ahmad Khan Mahmoodzada) the son of Ali (Nabi Tanha), the slave who has been with the family for over 40 years – Amir the ‘master’, Hassan the slave boy. Of Amir is said by his father (Homayoun Ershadi), “A boy who won’t stand up for himself becomes a man who won’t
stand up for anything.” Hassan is the expression of friendship and loyalty that is almost surreal; a boy of strong character and standing up for what he believes is good and fair – a true and noble brave heart. He is the fighter/defender (albeit illiterate and poor), while Amir is a very imaginative story teller / aspiring author, but a rather passive character. Perhaps one of the only ways in which he takes after his father is his gift for flying a kite.

A tournament is held in the city. Following his glorious victory (including setting a new record) Hassan runs off – alone – to fetch the last kite that was cut, awarding his ‘master’-friend the victory – a trophy as such. It ironically becomes a framed reminder of a day of tragic betrayal that ruins a precious friendship and changes both boys’ lives forever; a day that Amir will be trying to forget for many years to come.

H: “Amir, I’m going to run that blue kite for you.
A: “Hassan, come back with it.
H: “For you, a thousand times over!

Shortly after war breaks out in Kabul and the boys are separated. Baba and his son manage to escape to the United States and there Amir has lived with his secret for twenty years. He is not the only one with a secret though. A series of events take Amir (Khalid Abdalla) back to the country of his childhood, now reigned by the iron fisted Taliban and a mere skeleton of the glorious city it used to be. He doesn’t want to forget anymore. In Hassan’s son there is redemption – “There is a way to be good again.

The movie is about people: the emotions, the thoughts, the longings, the dreams, friendship, betrayal, laughter, disappointment, family and secrets. It was very thought provoking and made me ask myself a few questions: How would I have felt? What would I have done? Would I be able to forgive? Would I have spoken up? I think it confronts us with moral issues that happens in the world every day; friends who betray, lies that are told, brutal violence and abuse, a lack of taking responsibility for choices/actions, choosing between right and wrong when it will cost you something and the consequences of those (sometimes crucial) choices.

Some have criticized it saying that maybe it is too real, too brutal, but not shying away from some harsh realities is precisely part of why I thought it to be a brilliant movie. I thought it to be honest, yet discreet.

Much of the movie dialogue is in Dari with English subtitles. I’m not one for subtitles at all but this movie had me glued to my seat, entangled emotionally and visually (like a good book that you simply cannot put down). The script was not so cumbersome that it caused the subtitles to overshadow the story, causing you to feel as if you were reading the movie. Even when there was no dialogue the level of intensity was well maintained.

I smile because it is just a movie, but at times I wanted to come to Hassan’s rescue, smack a few others ‘upside the head’, comfort and hug as I laughed, raged, ooo-ed, aaa-ed and cried. The focus of the movie was not to keep you guessing, but neither was it predictable so that you didn’t need to keep watching. It is filled with ironies and similarities between ‘then and now’ if you pay close enough attention. Being unable to squeeze every small detail of a book into a mere 120 odd minute movie I thought that a number of subtle details connected the dots nicely throughout without having to be too explicit or it becoming long winded and boring.

The characters are deep and evolving; many a journey is traveled and in the end they are nowhere near who they were in the beginning – journeys about discovering life and self; forgiveness, healing and redemptive second chances. “There is a way to be good again.

I strongly recommend this movie! ENCORE!!

The official website:

*Note: Pictures from the web ( &

You can now add the DVD (The Kite Runner), Blu-ray (The Kite Runner [Blu-ray]) or the book (The Kite Runner) to your collection by shopping online at, or maybe even the AUDIO book (The Kite Runner [Audiobook, Unabridged] [Audio CD]) for those mornings in rush hour traffic on your way to the office.


  1. I was so taken with the novel that I have decided not to see the film; it can only pale by comparison.
    Cindy. xxx

  2. I made the mistake twice of watching a movie of a novel that I've read and both times I came away feeling horribly disappointed as I searched endlessly for the details of the novel that were not depicted in the movie, or even endings that were altered into something defeating the whole purpose. I've decided NEVER AGAIN. I had an opportunity to see this movie before I could get my hands on the book. I think that changed my impression of the movie. A lot of negative feedback that I have read on the movie was from those who have indeed read the book and was comparing rather than reviewing the movie. I don't think there is a comparison. Maybe I should read the book (reverse of my previous disappointing experiences) - maybe this time I will be even more impressed leaving me with two positive experiences: good and better (instead of GREAT and disappointed). What do you think?