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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

A way to be good again

The plot of The Kite Runner deserves greater cinematic effort

Published: January 25, 2008
Section: Arts, Etc.

“For you! A Thousand Times Over!”: Hassan runs a kite for Amir.This winter movie season, we were lucky enough to see two phenomenal novels adapted into films. Atonement and The Kite Runner provide readers with multi-layered characters living with and learning from past actions.

Both use the past transgressions of children nearly as a foreshadowing of major violent events of war and invasions. The actions of Atonement’s Briony foreshadowed World War II and soon after Amir’s actions, the Russians invaded Afghanistan.

Both children are inspiring fiction writers who betray someone who was undoubtedly very important to them during their childhood. However Amir, unlike Briony, realizes the implications of his actions immediately.

The Kite Runner tells the story of Amir, a young boy of a privileged lifestyle and his friendship with his servant’s son, Hassan.

The two boys could not be more different. Hassan, who is illiterate, is fiercely loyal and always willing to stand up for what he believes in. Amir is quite the opposite. He is a brooding, self-centered child who cares much more about his personal comfort than that of anyone else.

Amir finds himself in a situation where he can help his loyal friend (most likely at his own expense) or simply leave Hassan to the wolves. After this decision, Amir is given a “way to be good again” years later when he is given the task of retrieving Hassan’s son Sorhab from a Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.

The plot of The Kite Runner is incredibly involving and powerful, but without such a strong story, the movie would not be as celebrated as it is. Also, the two main child actors, Zekeria Ebrahimi and Ahmad Khan Mahmidzada, are not professional actors. This fact surprised me as they both did a wonderful job.

The film also focuses entirely on the story and leaves politics out of it as much as possible. This probably was a good decision as a scene of child rape in the film has caused an actor’s father to fear for his and his child’s safety. They have since been relocated to the United Arab Emirates

On the film’s website, a feature called “Fly Your Kite; Be Good Again,” allows anyone to basically create a kite with a message to be flown in a virtual sky.

The message is supposed to be one which atones for past transgressions or perhaps just shows appreciation for someone. Using the feature I found messages in multiple languages, some of which had responses, and all of which were using the site to promote some sense of peace. The feature is really amazing and I was excited by the sheer amount of kites in the sky.

I would recommend The Kite Runner to anyone who would enjoy a movie simply because of the story it tells. There isn’t any great cinematography here, just a tale of one boy’s quest “to be good again.”