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The best films for me to write about are the ones I’m ambivalent about. I feel the need to do justice to the good ones and the bad ones need explanations as to why they were so bad. And then there are those like The Kite Runner which just didn’t click but I didn’t hate. The one adjective I would attribute to it is “interesting.” For a film that was going more for emotion and melodrama, interesting is probably a failure. I was supposed to get caught up in main character Amir’s turmoil, guilt, and redemption, but I was more into seeing what Kabul looked like during various eras. I had a lot more fun learning about the Afghan culture and the time period than caring about the characters’ fates.

Basically, Amir is best friends with his servant’s son, Hassan. There are chasms of race and class between them that rear their ugly heads when an assault occurs, followed by a betrayal. A decade later Amir returns to Afghanistan to atone. The book is regarded as a modern literary masterpiece, but the movie met with mixed reviews and it sounds like it doesn’t really do the book justice.

After the movie struggled, it ended up with just one Oscar nomination, for Original Score. I’d listened to the soundtrack before and enjoyed its Afghan influences. The actual score has some of that, but is mostly the annoying Twangy Indie Guitar Music (or maybe it’s an Afghan version of the guitar). This is a trend that is really beginning to get to me. Honestly, the film is not particularly well-acted or directed. The only standout is Iranian actor Homayoun Ershadi as Amir’s caring but somewhat troubled father.

I didn’t really dislike The Kite Runner, but it didn’t come together well and grab me. Its track record seems to suggest it might not for you either.

January 2021