kiterunnerblu‘The Kite Runner’ is epic in scope, telling the story of the Afghani Amir against political upheavals in his native country, his growing up, and eventual immigration to the United States. The film is bookended by the present-day Amir (Khalid Abdalla), a successful writer, and is told as an extended flashback to Afghanistan before and during the Russian invasion.

Young Amir (Zekeria Ebrahimi) grows up with his best friend, Hassan (Ahmad Khan Mahmidzada), who has been taken in by his wealthy father, Baba (Homayoun Ershadi). Hassan is from a provincial tribe apart from the mainstream Muslim practitioners who would eventually become the ruling Taliban. Though he is constantly bullied, Hassan is always ready to defend his timid friend Amir. After a brutal assault on Hassan, which Amir witnesses but is too frightened to come to Hassan’s aid, the relationship between the two friends changes. The country is shortly thereafter invaded by the Russians, and Amir and his family begin a frightening attempt to elude the invaders and get out of Afghanistan.

Based on the novel by Khalid Hosseini, ‘The Kite Runner’ is a captivating story about friendship, family, how war creates personal turmoil, and how events experienced at a young age follow one and mold him into the adult he becomes. Director Marc Forster structures his film like a three-act play. The first third is the richest as he shows us the wonderful relationship of the two young friends, who become the reigning neighborhood kite-flying team. Amir controls the kite, attempting to cut the string of other boys’ kites. When he succeeds, Hassan — the kite runner — darts through narrow streets to retrieve the stringless kite as a trophy. The scenes of kite flying, enhanced by a bit of computer magic, metaphorically underscore the innocence and freedom of childhood. This is the boys’ life and joy. The concerns of adulthood ae not theirs and some dark secrets are still well hidden.

Ershadi, as Baba, is also exceptional. Whether he is criticizing religious fanatics, cursing communism, watching his son compete successfully in kite flying, or imperiling his own life by standing up for the honor of a stranger, he conveys dignity, courage, and arrogance, as required, making his Baba a well developed, if flawed, character. Because the adult Amir is a low-key and laid back, Adballa succeeeds in the tough task of making us care about him. His journey — both emotional and physical — changes him and is as enlightening for him as it is dangerous. This Amir is not a hero in the usual Hollywood sense, but a man who comes to terms with demons of the past, attempts to exorcise them, and develops inner courage in the process.
Movie Content: 4.5/5

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Print/Audio Quality

The print is presented in 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The print is presented in 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Not having seen this film previously on DVD, the image is fairly good. Colors are vivid and bright offering a nice pop that wasn’t expected. There is some softness throughout the print, but nothing that hurts the print. Sharpness and details are also very good, with inky looking blacks. For fans of the film, you will not be disappointed.
Print Quality: 4/5

The audio is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix. ith this film being dialogue driven, the presentation is front heavy as I would expect from a film of this nature. Dialogue is clean through the center channel with no apparent issues. The rear surrounds do not get much usage, except for a few effects here and there. Overall I was satisfied with the audio presentation.
Audio Quality: 4/5

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Special Features

  • Commentary with Marc Forster, Khaled Hosseini and David Benioff
  • Words from The Kite Runner
  • Images from The Kite Runner
  • Theatrical Trailer [HD]

Special Features: 3.5/5

The Final Word

‘The Kite Runner’ is a gripping film that you won’t easily forget. Its subject matter is substantial and its background of war-torn 1970′s Afghanistan and its unfolding story over many years give it a sweeping, epic feel. It is impeccably directed, and its cast completely effective in portraying complex, multifaceted characters.
Overall Rating: 4/5