The Kite Runner

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Rating: PG-13

Starring:
Khalid Abdalla as Amir
Atossa Leoni as Soraya
Shaun Toub as Rahim Kahn
Sayed Jafar Masihullah Gharibzada as Omar
Zekeria Ebrahimi as Young Amir
Ahmad Khan Mahmidzada as Young Hassan
Homayoun Ershadi as Baba
Nabi Tanha as Ali
Elham Ehsas as Young Assef
Bahram Ehsas as Wali
Tamim Nawabi as Kamal
Mohamad Nabi Attai as Uncle Saifo the Kite Seller

Special Features:
Commentary with Marc Forster, Khaled Hosseini and David Benioff
Words from The Kite Runner
Images from The Kite Runner
Theatrical Trailer

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.35:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Spanish and French Language
Spanish and French Subtitles
Running Time: 127 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is from the DVD description:

“‘There is a way to be good again.’

The best selling novel is now one of the most acclaimed movies of the year. As young boys, Amir and Hassan were inseparable friends, until one fateful act tore them apart. Years later, Amir will embark on a dangerous quest to right the wrongs of the past – and redeem himself in ways he never expected – by displaying the ultimate in courage and devotion to his friend. Directed by Marc Forster (‘Finding Neverland,’ ‘Monster’s Ball’), ‘The Kite Runner’ allows us to believe that there may be justice in the world.”

“The Kite Runner” is rated PG-13 for strong thematic material including the rape of a child, violence and brief strong language.

Mini-Review:
I have to admit that I was dreading watching “The Kite Runner.” I wasn’t keen on watching the well publicized sexual assault of a child which is featured in the movie. But this was one of the few big DVD releases this week, so I felt obligated to review it. And sure enough those scenes were very upsetting to watch. Even cutting away and not showing much, it was pretty heart wrenching. That being said, this movie has a lot to offer.

“The Kite Runner” is a very interesting look at the Afghani culture. You see it before the Soviet invasion and later in the heart of the Taliban rule. It’s a dramatic, horrific contrast. You see children playing with kites, then later kids running through the streets missing legs and limbs. You see the streets alive with vendors and people, then later riddled with debris, dead bodies, and patrolling Taliban. For most audiences unfamiliar with Afghanistan, it’s quite shocking. You also get to see Afghani culture in America as the people are transplanted there.

Another thing that struck me was the kite flying scene. I was impressed with how director Marc Foster took something as simple and childlike as kite flying and turned it into a dramatic, action packed moment. You’re treated to dogfighting with kites instead of airplanes. It was well choreographed.

Then, of course, there’s the relationship between Hassan and Amir. It starts out innocent and fun as we meet the two characters, but it turns tragic over time. As Amir returns to Afghanistan to set things right, it turns inspiring and bittersweet. We see Amir redeem himself and eventually turn into a character as bold as his father. You can’t help but be pulled into Amir’s story.

If you like films that highlight other cultures or films with bittersweet stories, you’ll want to check out “The Kite Runner.” But be warnedÂ…there’s some dark material in here to offset the more lighthearted moments.

The bonus features are fairly basic. You’ll find a commentary and a ‘making of video’. The featurette highlights the adaptation of the book to film and outlines many of the subtle themes in the story. “Images of The Kite Runner” isn’t a photo gallery – it’s a ‘making of’ featurette discussing how the film was shot in Western China and other locations. This is probably the highlight of the bonus feature as we see them dealing with the challenges of filming overseas.

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