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For You a Thousand Times Over

  • Feb 20, 2010
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.
For You a Thousand Times Over For You a Thousand Times Over For You a Thousand Times Over For You a Thousand Times Over

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February 21, 2010
Yeh I can pretty much relate to what you said in your review. The movie relied on several thing that the viewer would have to figure out themselves. I still somewhat liked this movie but it just didn't approach the mastery of the writing in the book. Nice review.
February 21, 2010
Have you read A Thousand Splendid Suns? That book, IMO, is even BETTER then The Kite Runner, as hard as that is to imagine.
February 22, 2010
not yet. But I will pick it up now. Thanks!
February 23, 2010
No lie, I had to put that book down every ten minutes or so because it just made me too depressed. A lot of people asked me why I would put myself through that, but I like it. Not because I like making myself depressed, but because it makes me appreciate what I have and content. Besides, its just a great read.
More The Kite Runner reviews
review by . July 26, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Powerful story; superb acting     Cons: None     The Bottom Line: The Kite Runner takes us to a world few of us have experienced, and fewer understand.  But it is still the story of us.     Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot. Afghanistan: the south-central Asian country is an enigma to most Americans, indeed most of the world.  The people that inhabit this mostly barren stretch of Earth …
review by . March 19, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner is such a beautiful story. I read the book a year and a half ago, which sets me up perfectly to enjoy an on-screen adaptation of the book (My recipe for success in this area? Read book. Love book so much that I want more. Let time pass -- at least a year -- so that the details of the book have softened in my mind. Watch movie.).     It truly is a beautiful movie -- the type that plays out wonderfully in high-definition format. There are also …
review by . November 15, 2008
Whether you've read the best-selling first novel by Khaled Hosseini or not, this is a haunting movie that will drain your emotions, moisten your eyes and bring out your goose bumps. Mostly faithful to the book, the film tries its best to capture the gut wrenching emotional drama of the story and its unforgettable characters, and it succeeds in doing so to a large extent.     SLASS (Slightly Longer Attention Span Summary)     1. Amir is a boy who lives in Kabul …
review by . March 26, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
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 …
About the reviewer
Jonathan J.D. Lane ()
Ranked #58
I am a member of the US Air Force and presently serve overseas at RAF Mildenhall about three hours north of London. I grew up in Pappilion Nebraska and Crestview Florida, but since joining the Air Force … more
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About this movie


Like the bestselling book upon which it's based,The Kite Runner will haunt the viewer long after the film is over. A tale of childhood betrayal, innocence and harsh reality, and dreamy memory,The Kite Runnerfaces good and evil--and the path between them, though often blurry and sorrowfully relative. Director Marc Forster (Monster's Ball,Finding Neverland) presents a painterly vision of Afghanistan before the Soviet tanks, before the Taliban--lush, verdant, fertile--in its landscape and in its people and their history and hopes. The story follows two young boys' friendship, tested beyond endurance, and the haunting of their adult selves by what happened in their youth--and what horrors befall their country in the meantime. The performances of the two boys--Zekeria Ebrahimi (Amir) and Ahmad Khan Mahmidzada (Hassan)--are the film's strongest, unforced and gently evocative. The penance paid by their adult selves is foreshadowed, but never predictable--and the metaphor of innocence lost, a common theme in Forster's work, keeps the film, like the title kites, truly aloft.--A.T. Hurley
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Director: Marc Forster
Genre: Drama
Release Date: 26 December 2007 (UK)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: David Benioff, Khaled Hosseini
DVD Release Date: March 25, 2008
Runtime: 128 minutes
Studio: Dreamworks Video
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