Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Kite Runner |
Actors: Khalid Abdalla, Ahmad Khan Mahmoodzada, Atossa Leoni, Shaun Toub, Sayed Jafar Masihullah Gharibzada
Director: Marc Forster
Studio: Paramount Home Video Release Date: 03/24/2009 Run time: 127 minutes Rating: Pg13
The Kites of the Novel are Uplifted by the Wind but Fail to
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 03/26/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Khaled Hosseini's THE KITE RUNNER was one of those first novels that captured both public interest and the hearts of the many who read this story of childhood unconditional love and redemption set against three stormy decades in Afghanistan. Though Hosseini was approached about the story's adaptation to the screen soon after the novel was published, there seems to have been a rush to get the visual form of the poetic novel before the audience, a journey besieged by unsuspected political intervention and criticism by the Afghan government. But after seeing the film, this intrigue heightens the intent of those involved in translating the book to film - writer David Benioff and director Marc Forster.
People may argue both sides of whether or not the dialog be in Afghan languages (Dari, Pashtu,Urdu) with English subtitles or be in English throughout: the choice of using both languages is severely hampered by the decision to place the Afghan translations in an overlay on the screen while the English subtitles are place off the viewing field. A small point, perhaps, but one that makes the first viewing of the film difficult to follow visually. As far as the actors are concerned, the two young lads who were chosen to portray Amir (Zekeria Ebrahimi) and Hassan (Ahmad Khan Mahmidzada) are perfect: closest of friends living in a household where one (Amir) is the son of the master of the house and the other (Hassan) is the son of the grounds and house keeper - a factor that serves to underline class differences that will later become increasingly poignant. The boys are inseparable, reading stories together and flying kites in competitions - each lad specializing in one of those pastimes. But disaster crumbles the boys' victory in the kite flying contest when Hassan is beaten and raped by the town bullies while Amir cowardly runs for safety, deserting his friend. Suddenly the Russians invade and that change factors into the need for Amir and his father to move to America where Amir is educated and becomes a writer. Twenty years pass. After the fall of Afghanistan to the Russians and subsequently to the Taliban, Amir (now actor Khalid Abdalla) receives a telephone plea from Hassan's father to return to Kabul. Amir, now married and a successful writer, feels the need to return to amend for his past omission as well as to assuage Amir's fears. When he arrives in Kabul he encounters a war torn country he no longer recognizes, discovers past secrets as to his and Hassan's true identities, and sets out on a journey to bring closure to a childhood love and promise. It is a touching tale of redemption and the strongest echo of the magic of the novel.
THE KITE RUNNER as both novel and film will appeal to all audiences sensitive to scars that wars leave on children and adults alike. For this viewer the film lacks the intensity of the book in that the time spent with the childhood of the two boys feels secondary to the personal journey of the adult Amir. But that is not to say the film is less powerful in the end: the story is one that leaves an imprint on the audience that last long past the ending credits. Grady Harp, March 08"
Courage in the face of adversity and a second chance at rede
Linda Linguvic | New York City | 12/28/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I read this book a few years ago and loved it. And, frankly, I was worried that the filmmakers might ruin the movie. That silly worry of mine sure was wrong though. I know it doesn't seem possible, but the movie was even better than the book. I think that it was because the act of reading allowed me to put the book down and pick it up at a later time. The movie, however, is right there, in your face, and doesn't give the viewer any reprieve from the compelling plot or the constant tension. I knew the story of course, and during one of the crucial scenes I found myself crying real tears even before one particular awful scene happened. And then I watched it in horror in full living color, knowing what would happen next and understanding that there were no easy answers.
This is the story of a friendship between two boys in Afghanistan. It starts in the 1970's before the Communists and before the Taliban. Life was complex enough then even without the awful politics which came later. Amir was the only son of a wealthy businessman and rather shy. Hassan was the son of a servant and of a lower class social group. Amir and Hassan shared a deep friendship despite the social differences between them and were a team in one of the big events in their town - a kite flying contest. At the very moment of victory though, there is a tragic act of aggression against Hassan which changes the relationship between the two boys forever. Each of the boys suffers in his own way. For Amir, it affects his life forever. All of this is set against an historical background of Afghanistan when it was secular and modern, especially for the upper classes. Women were free to go around unveiled. Books of all kind were available, although, shamefully, boys like Hassan were not taught to read.
Then the world turned topsy turvy. Amir and his father had to flee for their lives and wound up in California. Amir marries, becomes a writer. And then, now, twenty years later, he receives a call from his father's friend who has fled to Pakistan. "You must come back" is the message. This is the time of the Taliban. Life is horrible in Afghanistan. But Amir, now a man, is given the opportunity to do an heroic act. How this all plays out is scary and uplifting and real. I was sitting at the edge of my seat in the movie theater even though I knew how it would all turn out.
I loved this film. The casting was excellent. Filmed in California and China, all of the actors seemed to be Afghanistani and the dialog was in Dari, Pashtu, Urdu and Russian as well as English. I particularly liked the performance of Homayoun Ershadi who played the father with wisdom and strength even when his fortune was reversed and he worked at a convenience store in California and sold merchandise at a flea market on weekends. There is a sense of authenticity throughout. Mostly, though, it was the theme that drove the film, a universal theme of sin and redemption and how a person can have a second chance to go from cowardice to courage.
I live in New York City and the film opened in one of the art theaters. This might mean that it may never go mainstream. If this is true, it is a shame. The film was a winner all the way. Yes, it is disturbing and might just haunt your dreams. Clearly, it is for adults only too. In spite of all the horror though, it ends with an inspiring and uplifting note. Don't miss this very important film. I give it my very highest recommendation.
"The Kite Runner" Soars
J. Michael Click | Fort Worth, Texas United States | 09/30/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Quite simply, "The Kite Runner" is magnificent. Based on the acclaimed bestselling novel by Khaled Hosseini, the film is epic in scope, spanning a number of decades, continents, and cultures, and yet it remains intimate and personal in terms of its characters and their stories. It is spectacularly photographed, sensitively directed, hauntingly scored, and impeccably acted by a brilliant cast whose performances are meticulously nuanced. Even the opening credit sequence is fascinating, foreshadowing through calligraphy the differences in Western and Middle Eastern culture that will be a subtheme of the movie.
The story opens in 21st century San Francisco, where a young man from Afghanistan (the charismatic Khalid Abdalla as Amir) has just published his first novel. In flashbacks, he recalls his childhood in Afghanistan, and particularly his relationship with his best friend Hassan, the child of his father's oldest friend and live-in servant. The two boys (played by Zekeria Ebrahemi and Ahmad Khan Mahmidzada, both of whom turn in performances of amazing depth) are eventually driven apart by an act of childish cowardice by the young Amir. They lose contact all together after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, at which time Amir and his father (Homayon Ashadi in a wonderfully understated performance) flee to Pakistan and then eventually to America. Years pass, and then, finally, the adult Amir is provided with an opportunity to redeem himself. The decision that he makes, and the consequences that unfold, bring the story full circle to its powerful conclusion.
I was fortunate enough to see this film as part of a single screening that played to a sold-out audience (dozens and dozens of disappointed cinemagoers ended up being turned away after demand exceeded supply), and expectations were almost impossibly high. Happily, Marc Forster (who also directed "Finding Neverland", "Monster's Ball", and is currently set to direct the 22nd James Bond film) and company satisfied even the most demanding members of the audience, as ripples of gentle laughter gave way to surpised gasps and finally to unsentimental tears as the story unfolded. Here is a film destined to win over audiences and critics alike, one that will undoubtedly end up being one of the year's short list of bona fide masterpieces."
For You a Thousand Times Over
Jonathan Lane | Crestview Florida U.S.A | 03/27/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Khaled Hosseini's novel The Kite Runner is one of the most moving books of the modern era, a story that has touched the lives of countless millions across the world. Published in over 30 countries, The Kite Runner is at the same time one of the most touching and heartbreaking stories ever written and an educational read which will open your eyes to the history and culture of a country few can even find on a map. It is, needless to say, a fascinating read which opens the reader's eyes to the beauty and devastation which is Afghanistan.
When I heard that there was a film adaptation coming out based on this magnificent novel I had my doubts on whether or not it could actually be done. The book isn't heavy on action or suspense; instead most of the depth and the meat of the story is told though exposition, in the mind of the main character and would be extremely difficult, if not down right impossible, to film. The strength of the story lay in its rich three-dimensional characters which are very hard to transfer from the pages of a book to the big screen.
For what it is the movie adaptation of The Kite Runner really isn't that bad a film. I'm not sure how someone who has never read the book would react to this film because quite frankly I am in love with Hosseini's writing. The film may actually be quite entertaining for one who isn't familiar with the book, and if that is the case by all means to not allow this review to damper your desire to pick up a copy of this movie, but for someone who has invested time and energy (both very well spent) on reading the book and getting to know the characters the film adaptation will seen bland, unemotional, and lacking the depth and heart which made the book such an epic masterpiece. Although for the most part the dialogue stays true to the book, it cuts parts out which should have stayed in. for instance when Baba is confronting the Russian soldier in the book he cries out "war doesn't negate decency" but that is only half of what he said, the whole quote goes, "war doesn't negate decency, it demands it." It's a very subtle difference but it does change the meaning of the scene.
There is also a lot left out of the film which, in my opinion, should have made their way in one way or another. If you haven't read the book you have no idea that Assefs mother is from Germany and that his hero is Adolph Hitler, even his famous brass knuckles which are such terrifying symbol in the book are left out completely. Hassan's cleft lip is gone, Ali's crippled right leg left on the cutting room floor. The film moves so fast though the flashbacks in the beginning, where the emotional impact is felt the most in the novel, that all depth is sucked right out of it. The characters aren't fully developed, their motivations left unexplored and unexplained.
The film simply goes too fast to be able to explore the depth of the characters in a way they deserved. Too many details about the characters are left out, too many important events skimmed over, too little detail poured into explaining everyone's motivations. The friction between the different ethnic groups, the Pashtuns and the Hazara's, so vital to the message of the book, is used as nothing more then a plot device and no attempt is made to educate the public on just what these groups are. Honestly how many people know what the difference is? And yet without knowing the history of these groups and their backgrounds the story looses a lot of its driving force.
Not to say this film doesn't have its high points. No matter how much time and effort a writer pours into his or her story they can never match the detail that a simple picture can bring. Seeing Afghanistan in ruins, the burnt out tanks, the men hanging from trees as warnings, the berka clad women being stoned to death in the most brutal of ways, brought a new light to Hosseini's novel, and for that I thank this film. Being able to see the nation of Afghanistan outside of news footage of the war and one bad Rambo movie brought new light to that nation's peril. But the most fascination aspect of this movie are, of all things, the kits from which the novel and film get their names. the scenes with the boys and later with Amir as an adult flying kites were moving, spectacular, and haunting all at the same time. Who knew seeing a kite flying majestically in the sky could be so moving?
If you haven't read the book, you may like, nay maybe even love this film, but for those of you who have, like me, this movie will feel watered down, rushed, and lacking the same depth and emotion as the brilliant novel. Its still a good movie, don't get me wrong, but there is simply too much left out. I've always thought The Kite Runner was an un-filmable book, it simply is too deep to recreate in a satisfactory way on the big screen. If you haven't read the book, go for it, if you have then get ready for a disappointment.
Replay value; moderate."