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Kite Runner- Movie Review - The Apple that Fell Far from the Tree

Category: , , By Manu
Khaled Hossieni's Kite Runner is a book I read recently and absolutely loved. I went to the library for months in search of this book which inevitably will always be out in circulation. Eventually I lend it from one of my friends and read it- and what an experience it was. The Kite Runner goes way up there with "To Kill a Mockingbird" for me (except on the intellectual part, I meant the emotional one). So you can guess my expectations when I decided to watch the movie based on the same book and also how my expectations were shattered even 30 minutes into the movie.

Plot: ‘The Kite Runner’ is the film of the international bestselling book which tells the story of Amir, a well-to-do boy from the Wazir Akbar Khan district of Kabul, who is haunted by the guilt of betraying his childhood friend Hassan, the son of his father's Hazara servant. It is set against a backdrop of tumultuous events, from the fall of the monarchy in Afghanistan through the Soviet invasion, the mass exodus of refugees to Pakistan and the United States, and the Taliban regime.

Review: This movie just underlined my firm belief that some books are best left untouched by the movie world. Books which deal predominantly in monologues and thought are almost next to impossible to render into a great movie. I never saw "To Kill a Mockingbird" movie cause I had read the book before and I had no idea how a film true to the book can be made. I thought Kite Runner may be different especially in the very able hands of Marc Forster(Monster's Ball, Finding Neverland, Quantum of Solace). But I was rudely shocked back to reality to find a film that lacks both the emotional turmoil of the protagonist and the skewed friendship between the two boys. Anyone who has read the book will almost definitely hate the movie for destroying a beautiful work of art.

The movie feels rushed, and forced in almost every frame. Every scene was delivered without conviction and I was almost irritated at many points to see beautiful moments(in the book) utterly destroyed, or omitted. Subtlety is not at all present in the movie. The screenplay made the characters say out loud many things that the audience should have made to realise themselves. Somethings loose their beauty when said out loud. The blatant expose of the characters thought irked me. A monologue or narration would have been immensely helpful in dealing with such a book, but somehow the director thought that he will be able to pull off a great movie just because the book was great.

The movie omits many many important and emotional moments all through out the movie but yet it never looses an opportunity to show "Big Bad Russia" in the most derogatory light possible within the framework of the movie. It always amazes me how Americans never looses a single opportunity to establish Russia is a bad guy. In a movie where no emphasis is given to develop the characters, the movie seems so interested in the particular political stance of the protagonists father - obviously Anti Russian, or/and Anti-Communist. Where the book handled the situation trithfully and didn't stress much on the political implications, the movie seems so interestd in showing its political stance at every possible situation.

One of the most touching and shocking scenes in the book, for me, was Hassan's Death. In the book it is written so beautifully that I could almost see the events unravelling. The director, which is so eager to finish the movie and go home I suppose, just mentions the event in passing. A guy says "Hassan is dead" and thats it. I was absolutly stunned at that point. Similarly the ending in the book was so beautifully meloncholic and yet hopeful, whereas the movie emphasizes the CGI Kite flying antics more than any human emotional changes. Even the parts where the Afghanistan of today is shown with its Taliban, the movie falters and falls on its face. The single scene which stood out was the one at the orphanage and the outburst or the Manager there. That single scene was better than the whole movie, and that actor's performance was better than anybody else's in the movie.

The movie is nothing like what I saw when I read the book. Every 10 minutes in the movie something would stand out as jarring or out of place. While the book was about the emotional journey and the unique friendship of the protagonist, the movie is very happy to show off CGI Kite flying techniques and somewhat beautiful landscape. Soraya, the protagonist's wife had an important role in the book, whereas in the movie it is reduced to just a sideshow. If I hadn't read the book I wouldn't have understood the emotional state of the characters at any point of the movie.

My Verdict-I can't seem to stop finding faults with this movie, but I think I'm gonna stop. I have no idea what was going through the director's mind when he made the movie. One may find the movie tolerable if they haven't read the book, but those who have read watch it to see how bad the movie rendition is and gloat over having read the book first. I didn't feel nothing all through the movie except irateness and boredom. The movie quotes lines from the book often, but that doesn't save the movie, not by a long shot. Kite Runner the movie is absolutely a movie that you can pass(I even encourage you to pass).

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