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I recently was lucky enough to see "The Kite Runner" in a small theater, surrounded by seasoned movie-goers who knew how to enjoy a masterpiece of such sophistication. With all the controversy surrounding this film's central scene these days, I was expecting a piece both crude and violent. But the way Mr. Forster handled the delicate subject was touching and really, deeply moving. Even though the film's credits indicated China as the main location for the shoot, I could have sworn I was seeing Kabul throughout the scenes which are meant to be taking place in Afghanistan. The acting, by non-professionals as well as professional actors, is excellent and the casting is magnificent. So, this is a movie I would see again and again, because though it is undeniably sad in its subject, the masterful way it has been made awakens a whole new hope in modern cinema.
I just watched this film at an advanced screening. I had not read the
book, and knew nothing of the story, but went because the book was
voted "Book of the Year" by two local colleges. So I cannot compare the
book with the movie as others have done.
In short, I thought this was an incredibly moving story. The acting was believable, and the insight into Afghan culture and political history was both interesting and shocking. My oldest friend is Iranian-American, and so I felt an affinity for certain Middle Eastern values and traditions that were portrayed in the movie, as they reminded me of the times I spent with his family.
The themes of friendship, family, human values, and courage under fire are universal, and are well developed in the film. I won't list the plot details, as these can be obtained elsewhere. But based on the film's technical aspects, the acting, and, above all, its heart-wrenching story, I would definitely recommend this movie.
The Kite Runner should win an Oscar! It's perfect in every sense, the story, the script, the acting, the cinematography... One would never guess it was filmed in China. The story of two childhood friends and what follows in their adult lives will leave a lasting impression. The depiction of life in Afghanistan under the Taliban is all too real and horrifying. I have not read the book, but I have seen comments that put down the movie because "the book is always better"... It doesn't really matter. No one put down "Gone With The Wind" because it wasn't true to the book! As a matter of fact, it won the Academy Award for best picture and several other Oscars. I think this movie is brilliant - BRAVO to the writer and director, and the actors!
I know that to include everything in the book, the film would have to have been several hours long, so I think they did their best to include things that were crucial and pivotal to the story. I thought the casting was great, the children who played Amir and Hassan were very good actors. And the guy who played Amir as an adult was great! The scenes between him and Baba were especially touching. I thought the locations they used were interesting... scenes set in Afghanistan were shot in China, and one scene that took place in Fremont, CA (the graduation scene) was actually shot on Treasure Island in San Francisco. I worked one day as an extra on "Kite Runner" and it was that day, the day they shot the graduation scene. We reported to Treasure Island in the morning, they checked everyone's wardrobe to make sure it looked like the late 80s, an then we took our places in the audience. They shot the scene over and over again until they were happy with it. It was cool to see the actors up close and also to see the book's author, who was on hand as a story consultant. I thought this book was excellent and I recommend both the book and the movie to anyone. This is a moving story about friendship, love, guilt and eventual redemption. "There is a way to be good again."
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Amazing, Astounding, Brilliant, Superb. Those are the four adjectives
that prop up in my head when I start describing "The Kite Runner".
Khaled Hosseini's book adaptation had already captured many minds, in
fact it is rumored that he himself broke down in to tears after
watching the premier. I must say before I even start that I had read
the book before I saw the advanced screening of "The Kite Runner". So
my judgment and views may be slightly biased.
Firstly, let me say it, that even though in my opinion the book was better than the final product of the movie, it is by no means a bad adaptation. I mean for a two hour movie it's got the deserved response. Things do appear a tad fast in the final twenty odd minutes, but apart from that it has succeeded what the book did. It has captured the minds and imagination of millions all across the globe. The magic woven by Khaled Hosseini, to give us a sense of remorse of joy, of sadness, of pain, of loyalty is astute in this adaptation. Especially in the very first scene, when young Hassan says, "If you tell me to eat dirt, I will. but I know you won't ask me to." Such a touching line, is bound to capture the hearts of many. The two young actors were brilliant, absolutely superb. Especially the boy who played the innocent but loyal Hassan, a boy, who refuses to give up a kite he caught because he promised his best friend that he would bring it to him, only to be abused by large bullies who beat him up and use him sexually, and then to be rebuked by his best friend as a coward. The entire act is so touching that it cannot but wet your eyes.
The entire movie is well placed save the last bit. The point when Amir learns of his true relationship with Hassan and reads Hassan's first and last not to him, when he breaks down in tears feeling helpless, lonely and remorseful, that appeared a bit rushed and felt that Amir was behind a facade. In the book, Khaled Hosseini had dedicated some 10-12 pages to describe Amir's state of mind in that position. But that his made up for in the penultimate segment of the movie, when Amir stands up for Hassan's boy, his nephew, Sohrab in front of his commanding father-in-law. The ending was well deserved and I am sure will be well appreciated. It felt witnessing the torch pass down from one generation to another.
Coming over to the technical aspects. First of all, the acting. Just one word-Superb. From start to finish, young Hassan and Amir, their father, his friend Rahim Khan. Everyone has been superb, especially young Hassan. Second, the direction was amazing, coupled with some brilliant camera work. The background score was also impressive. Right from the start credit track to the end credit, and I especially loved the one when Amir is in the mosque in Pakistan the western and Islamic fusion, made that extra special.
All in all, this is definitely one of the better movies, and it's a welcome break from all those Iran inspired movies that we have floating all over this year. 9/10 !!!
The Kite Runner was beautiful, poignant and very moving. I particularly
loved the two child actors in the film as well as the actor portraying
the father. It really made me want to go back and read the book again.
The music was a wonderful part of the fabric of the movie. If there is a soundtrack coming out for the film, I will buy it to accompany my second reading of the book. It is also a visually stunning film. The cinematography was gorgeous and really added to experience.
The Brazilian word 'saudades' is very descriptive of how I felt at the end of the film..."it is a deep feeling of longing for someone or someplace, which is very sweet but also tinged with an inescapable sadness" (definition provided years ago by Antonio Carlos Jobim).
Saw it at a small cinema here for an advance screening. I would love to see it again on a really large screen with a tricked out sound system.
Can't wait for the formal release. I will definitely recommend the film to friends.
After seeing the prosthetic legs dropping from the sky by parachute in
Kandahar (2001), one of the most memorable images in all of cinema, I
wondered why there weren't more stories coming out of such a tumultuous
country, tied to Americans forever by 9/11. And now I think I know why.
Such a beautifully-wrought adaptation of the wildly-popular novel of the same name, The Kite Runner is a model of fine film-making in almost all respects except one: It's too pat. So maybe Charlie Wilson's War will show me that films about Afghanistan will not revolve around formulae and clichés.
The redemption of the protagonist, Amir (Khalid Abdalla), has been told forever in literature and film, just not in Afghanistan. So no matter how tear-jerking the film may be, it is still a story told many times of a man who commits an egregious sin as a child but redeems himself in the end with an act of courage. Meanwhile, director Marc Forster and screenwriter David Beniof lace the film with the major motif, kite running, to such an ingenious extent that it not only ties in the hero's youth with his maturity, it also provides a figurative way of showing the desolation and hope of the country mixed of course with contradictory elements such as cutting string and blessed artificial legs.
Thus the film as metaphor is a success in showing the dismal past of a struggling country and its hopeful future. The cinematic images also emphasize this duality: The vistas with snow capped mountains and endless plains deflect the vision of a barren land where trees that manage to grow have been cut down by invaders, in this case 1979 Russia. The titular activity flourishes in large part because the arid, stony land offers few other possibilities. When the land is revisited in 2000, the limited country seems almost completely bereft of color and resources, a gray prison that parades adulterers to be stoned in the soccer stadium and little boys abused by an out-of-control Taliban.
But true to the formula, Amir has a second chance. I hope Afghanistan shares a similar fate.
"The Kite Runner" is one of the most controversial films of the year, and it's not just one of those controversies invented by PR people to sell tickets. No, this is a film that was actually pulled from release because the producers began to fear for their safety of their actors. That may give you an idea of just how sensitive and topical some of the material is. "The Kite Runner" is an important film for our modern world, because now more than ever, we need stories that show the reality of war, not just action movies that glamorize the violence. It was adapted from the best-selling book, and some critics have charged that something was lost in translation, but if you don't bring the baggage of the novel into the screening, you will be very moved.
I just saw it at an advance screening I haven't read the book, but
heard many good things about it.
The movie was absolutely fantastic, very moving. With a roller coaster of emotions you totally connect with the characters. Shaun Toub was great, it was a complete departure from his usual roles, and his acting for those who understand Persian/Dari was incredible.
One thing to notes it that Khaled Hosseini actually loved the film which is unusual for book adaptation movies. Even after seeing the movie several times "he was sobbing".
Also the animation from the intro was exquisite, with names displayed as if it were Persian calligraphy, very unique! At times the translation was not clearly conveying the message efficiently, but all in all this was a great movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It was AMAZING. As a librarian and an attendee at the New York Library
Association's Vitality Fund Event on Thursday night, October 18, I was
privileged to see a pre-release screening of the new movie, The Kite
Runner. The release of the movie has been delayed because of concerns
about the welfare of the child actors involved. I am grateful that the
NYLA event was allowed to go on as planned.
Regarding the movie, I feel it was masterfully done. It had as much impact on me, I think, as Stanley Kubrik's A Clockwork Orange, even though it is much less graphic - MUCH less. There is no comparison between the horrendous, shocking violence and rape shown in A Clockwork Orange and the small amount of violence actually shown in Kite Runner; only the subject matter and the implications for the human psyche are comparable. (I have written more details about the violence and child rape and how it was handled on my MySpace blog.) My overall impression was that this film was fantastic; one of the best-made films I have seen. The depiction of the Afghani boys flying their kites captured some of the beauty and grace of an art form unknown to most of the world. The subject matter is intensely serious, and the movie carries the emotions of the audience into that subject matter without many jarring "Hollywood touches" which have ruined other movies. Although the overturned cart of pomegranates was an obvious bit of symbolism (to me).
Finally, I must mention the excellence of the sound track. The recitation by the boy of poetry by Rumi as two main characters are fleeing the country during the Russian invasion - under terrifying circumstances - truly showed the power of those poems. I urge anyone watching to disregard the subtitles in that scene to the extent that you can, and just listen to the beauty of the language. I don't even know what language Amir is quoting, whether his normal Dari Persian dialect is the same as Rumi's original Persian dialect. Also, please note the sound heard every time a kite line is cut. I found it a profound, distinctive sound, though the librarians who were with me did not notice it at all. I can't help but wonder if kites actually make a sound like that when they are "cut", or if it gives a sense of the vibration/sound experienced by the kite flyer during competition.
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