The Kite Runner

Rating: ★★★★½

Young boys Amir and Hassan are best friends who live in the same home. Amir enjoys writing stories that Hassan eagerly listens to. Hassan can’t read the stories to himself because he is illiterate. The year is 1978, a time where Kabul is yet to be touched by foreign invaders. Peace abounds the streets while kites fill the sky. Children all around the neighborhood gather in pairs for popular kite-flying competitions where the goal is to engage in aerial assaults until only your own kite is left.

Amir and Hassan participate in such contests, and when they are successful in cutting down the kite of a competitor, Hassan is the one who runs for it, accurately predicting where the kite will land. Not only does Hassan run after the falling kites for Amir, but he also protects him from the bullies. Hassan demonstrates his unconditional devotion for his best friend in a tragic scene where he is attacked in ways I cannot mention in this review. Amir witnesses the event from a distance, but does nothing to help. He walks away.

Hassan survives, but not without wounds. In the following weeks, the two boys remain silent to one another. One tries to manage his pain while the other hides in his guilt. There is a heartbreaking moment where Amir does something to force Hassan and his father to move away. Every time Amir sees the face of Hassan, he is reminded of his own cowardice, and he doesn’t want to be reminded anymore.

Now Amir and is alone with his father, Baba. And when the Soviets invade their country, the two are forced to flee to the United States, where Amir grows up, falls in love with an Afghan general’s daughter, and gets married. This romance is deliberately hurried because “The Kite Runner” has a greater purpose, a greater story to tell.

One day, Amir receives a phone call from his home land. This is where the movie rightfully began. Amir is told that he can right the wrongs of his past, so he returns to Kabul and is surprised to what he has to see. Because the film mostly follows the life of Amir, we see present-day Kabul through his eyes, and it’s devastating. Kabul is now a place empty of kites; where limbs are sold for survival, where children are given away for money. We feel the grief that Amir feels for his land because we know what it was before, and now it’s gone. This is an emotional, captivating journey about a lost friendship with an opportunity for redemption.

I write this at a time where blockbuster movies are being released and advertised. Plots will be recycled, characters will be repeated, and stories will be retold. If we can look pass the advertisements, we might be surprised to find movies like “The Kite Runner.” These are movies that are made by Storytellers and not by Businessmen.

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The Kite Runner