After spending years in California, Amir returns to his homeland in Afghanistan to help his old friend Hassan, whose son is in troub le.
Like the bestselling book upon which it's based, The Kite Runner
will haunt the viewer long after the film is over. A tale of childhood betrayal, innocence, harsh reality, and dreamy memory, The Kite Runner
faces good and evil--and the path between them, though often blurry and sorrowfully relative. Director Marc Forster (Monster's Ball
, Finding Neverland
) presents a painterly vision of Afghanistan before the Soviet tanks, before the Taliban--lush, verdant, fertile--in its landscape and in its people and their history and hopes. The story follows two young boys' friendship, tested beyond endurance, and the haunting of their adult selves by what happened in their youth--and what horrors befall their country in the meantime. The performances of the two boys--Zekeria Ebrahimi (Amir) and Ahmad Khan Mahmidzada (Hassan)--are the film's strongest, unforced and gently evocative. The penance paid by their adult selves is foreshadowed, but never predictable--and the metaphor of innocence lost, a common theme in Forster's work, keeps the film, like the title kites, truly aloft. --A.T. Hurley