Urban Cinefile
"Why have an eight-year-old play an eight-year-old when we can have an actor of Tom's calibre, with all his years of experience, interpret the part? "  -- director Robert Zemeckis on using Tom Hanks play the boy as well as the guard in The Polar Express.
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Tuesday September 15, 2020 

Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE



Amir (Zekeria Ebrahimi) is the privileged son of a wealthy businessman (Homayon Ershadi) in Kabul, and Hassan (Ahmad Khan Mahmidzada) is the son of Amir's father's servant, Ali (Nabi Tanha). As children in the relatively stable Afghanistan of the early 1970s, the boys are inseparable. They spend idyllic days flying kites and running them when victors in kite fights, telling stories of mystical places until an unspeakable event changes the nature of their relationship forever, and eventually cements their bond in ways neither boy could ever have predicted.

Review by Louise Keller:
The brightly-coloured kites dance frivolously in the sky as if to celebrate freedom in this powerful drama about honour and loyalty. They dream they are the Sultans of Kabul, the two young boys who share fantasies and a special bond as they grow up in pre-war Afghanistan. Based on Khaled Hosseini's best-selling debut novel, Marc Forster's deeply affecting film is one you will never forget. The narrative is a tapestry entwined from personal and political threads; the result is emotionally overwhelming. Indelible images of the two young boys committed to their playful kite duals are a sharp contrast to those that follow, describing unthinkable acts of brutality. There are secrets, a betrayal, regret and a chance for redemption.

If you pay someone to do something, are they your friend or your servant, local bully
Assef (Elham Ehsas) taunts Amir (Zekeria Ebrahimi) and his best friend Hassan (Ahmad Khan Mahmoodzada). We learn that Amir and Hassan are genuine in their affection for each other, despite the class barrier that divides them. Forster elicits such natural performances from the two boys; there's a special poignancy about the all-too solemn face of Mahmoodzada's Hassan. Amir may be the boy with everything, but he is insecure about his father Baba (Homayon Ershadi)'s affections for Hassan. Soon friendship turns into shame, betrayal and Amir forgets his father's words that 'no act is more wretched than stealing'.

Everything changes with the advent of the Russian invasion. As Baba and Amir try to escape, there is a telling moment when Baba shows what kind of man he is, confronting a Russian soldier intent on raping a young mother, saying 'War doesn't negate decency'. We quickly jump in time and place to San Francisco, where newly graduated Amir (Khalid Abdalla), now forging ahead as an aspiring writer, becomes involved with Soraya (Atossa Leoni), the sympathetic daughter of a former Afghan general (Abdul Qadir Farookh). 'The rest of my life,' is Soraya's reply to her husband's question 'what do you see', as she looks in the mirror on their wedding day. But the phone call that prompts his return to the unrecognisable Kabul, after having endured both Russian and Taliban devastation, allows the child within Amir to rid himself of the unbearable burden he has been carrying all his life.

All the performances are excellent. I especially liked Ershadi's Baba, who epitomises decency, and Abdalla's grown up Amir, who learns life's lessons the hard way. This is a beautiful film that delivers in every way. It's about boys who don't need to chase shadows and men who want to relive the joy of that colourful kite's magical dance in the heavens.

DVD special features include a feature, images, public service announcement with Khaled Hosseini and trailer.

Published June 10, 2008

Email this article

Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

(US, 2007)

CAST: Zekeria Ebrahimi, Homayon Ershadi, Ahmad Khan Mahmidzada, Nabi Tanha, Shaun Toub, Khalid Abdalla, Atossa Leoni,

PRODUCER: William Horberg, E. Bennett Walsh, Rebecca Yeldham

DIRECTOR: Marc Forster

SCRIPT: David Benioff (novel by Khaled Hosseini)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Roberto Schaeffer

EDITOR: Matt Chesse

MUSIC: Alberto Iglesias


RUNNING TIME: 128 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: January 17, 2008

PRESENTATION: widescreen

SPECIAL FEATURES: Words from The Kite Runner / Images from The Kite Runner / Public Service Announcement with Khaled Hosseini / Theatrical Trailer.


DVD RELEASE: June 12, 2008

Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2020