Local opening date: December 21, 2007
Reviewed by Diane Carson
writer Khaled Hosseini's immensely popular novel has been made into a feature
film, a feat that will undoubtedly please some readers and appall others. For
any nearly-400-page book adaptation must jettison huge portions of character
development and interaction.
A literary work has certain merits, cinema others.
It's more apples and umbrellas than apples and oranges with two distinctly
different media. That accepted, director Marc Forster's realization of David
Benioff's screenplay of The Kite Runner suffers
from some of the same weaknesses and can boast some of the strengths of the
original. The story is still much too predictable, melodramatic, and clichéd
for my taste. It benefits from its political milieu and cultural elements
though, again, both should have much more complexity, increased depth and
breadth. The film does maintain a nice momentum over its two hour plus running
time with good technical work presenting heartfelt but sometimes bland
The film opens in San Francisco, 2000, with Amir receiving a
fateful phone call from family friend and mentor Rahim Khan. This call triggers
a flashback to Kabul, capital of Afghanistan,
1978, and the 12-year-old friends involved in the exciting kite tournament. Pashtun
Amir quite expertly maneuvers his kite, using the glass shards set in the string
to cut and send opponents' kites crashing. Amir's friend and servant Hassan,
Hazara, retrieves these kites as prizes, but a physical attack on him serves as
the catalyst for all that will follow: betrayal, regret and shame, attempts at
redemption and forgiveness much later in life.
issues define the character's lives: emigration, arranged marriages and the
place of women, filial piety and tradition, the Taliban and political indoctrination.
Shot in super-35 millimeter, some of it on location in Chinese desert sites near
The Kite Runner becomes increasingly
gray before the Russian invasion with a muted color palette complementing the
emotional oppression and repressive violence. More camera movement in Afghanistan
adds energy and music reinforces the locales. But The Kite Runner doesn't soar, lacking the ability to probe the
personal and political traumas to their truly tragic intensity. In English and
in Dari, Pashtu, Urdu and Russian with English subtitles. At Landmark's Plaza
Mon July 28
The Driftaways are a seven-man reggae band hailing from St. Louis. Their E.P. "Don't Hide" is full of high-energy jams and groovy improvisations that give the band's music a good-time vibe.
Nashville, Tennessee-based songwriter Amelia White with guitarist Sergio Webb are this week's featured artists for Harvest Sessions.
This free Saturday morning concert series takes place at the Tower Grove Farmers' Market,...