The Kite Runner (2007)
Critic Consensus: Despite some fine performances, The Kite Runner is just shy of rendering the magic of the novel on to the big screen.
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Critic Reviews for The Kite Runner
Hosseini's over-done melodrama that doesn't so much open our eyes to Afghanistan as reinforce everything negative we've already suspected.
The film's belief in the power of redemption and its subtle assertion of the need for moral courage in personal (or political) conflict, is never allowed to get in the way of its boldly told, intelligent, informed and affecting story.
A respectful adaptation of Khaled Hosseini's 2003 novel.
The Kite Runner is earnest and sentimental and formulaic and obvious. Watching it, I could understand the fuss over Khaled Hosseini's bestselling novel, but the film didn't make me want to read it.
Audience Reviews for The Kite Runner
The performances make this film, so the actors needed to be right on point, or this film wouldn't have been nearly as good as it is. Marc Forster and David Benioff have made a faithful adaption from the book, leaving out parts only necessary to the central story. The acting on display here is immensely powerful, as is the whole film. I was very pleased with the transition from book to screen, but the magic in the book was lost. It's not completely vanished, but it's not as prominent as it should be. The Kite Runner is a powerful, riveting, emotional film that is a faithful adaptation from the excellent novel.
This drama adopting a critically acclaimed novel tells the story of two boys growing up in the 1970s in Afghanistan and a tragic event that changes their friendship forever. Years later, one of them has to return to his crisis-ridden home country to find peace of mind. The film starts out pretty compelling, the story of the friendship finds an early highlight in a wonderfully filmed kite competition, portraying a realistic and respectful every day Afghan life before the Russian invasion. Once tragedy separates the two the film remains interesting but sticks to rather common paths: our protagonist leaves the country, gets married, loses his father. For some odd reason, even his return to a country that would consider him an enemy now never gets very exciting, not even in the eye of danger. Things always go oddly smoothly and while the story does touch you on a superficial emotional level, it never reaches deeper somehow. All that's well filmed, acted and results in a very entertaining film, though.
Three word review: Read. The. Book. Longer review: Marc Forster respects Khaled Hosseini's brilliant debut novel, but something does get lost in the adaptation process. The Kite Runner is one of the best books I've ever read, but the film version, while very faithful, acts like a Coles Notes for those with really short attention spans, or a "Disneyfication" of the source material. Several plot points are simplified to move the story forward so that it can cover as much ground as its 2 hour running time will allow. This quick, rushed pacing causes a lot of scenes that had more emotional weight in the novel to lose their impact. In a nutshell, The Kite Runner spans several decades and sees the two main characters as both children and adults. One of the kids, Amir, begins to grow jealous of his friend, Hassan, although why he feels this way is never fully explored in the film - the novel was much more clear. Furthermore, the script by David Benioff doesn't fully grasp the conflict that is erupting throughout Afghanistan. Hosseini's novel speaks of the events through a naive narrator. In other words, Hosseini writes about the conflict but he does it through the perspective of the child; the child doesn't understand what he's seeing, but the readers do. While such a device works for the book, the film version never goes into any detail to explain the conflict between the two different tribes of Afghans and how that sparked much of the upheaval in the decades to come. Where the film stumbles into cheese-ball territory is in the kite flying sequences. Blending close up tracking shots with CGI kites, these sequences are not only out of place, they subvert whatever symbolic meaning the kites had to the story. Where Hosseini was very poetic in describing Amir and Hassan flying their kites, Forster opts for a heavy handed, sentimental approach, which will either cause unintentional laughter or annoyed "alright, we get it" groans. Nevertheless, I believe audiences who never read the book will still find this movie to be quite engaging. Judged as a film on its own terms, Marc Forster's Kite Runner isn't a bad movie. The actors are good, the music and the on-location mise-en-scene contribute to a very authentic experience. Much of Hosseini's story still successfully translates to the screen, and the final fifteen minutes are sure to make a few audience members shed tears. Unfortunately, this is a pale adaptation of a masterwork. Fans of the book will surely be disappointed. But if you're new to this story, the film is good enough to entertain you and hopefully inspire you to pick up the book.
The Kite Runner Quotes
|Young Assef:||Nothing is free.|
|Rahim Khan:||There is a way to be good again.|
|Young Hassan:||why does he have to kill his wife? Why can't he just smell onions?|
|Young Hassan:||Why does he have to kill his wife? Why can't he just smell onions?|
|Young Hassan:||For you, a thousand times|
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