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Movie Review: The Kite Runner

Alternate Title: Shame, Lies and Redemption

Story: Just like millions of other fans, I loved the book. I was hesitant to see the film, but I can attest that if you are a fan, or even if you did not read the book, you should fly to the theater to see this heartfelt adaptation as it makes a fine transition to the big screen. Director Marc Forster (Monster's Ball, Finding Neverland) with a screenplay by David Benioff, stays steadfast to the tenor, nuance and soul of the novel by Khaled Hosseini.

The film opens in 1978 as two Afghani boys from different social classes are friends despite the stigma of class. An ugly incident separates the boys as guilt, shame and lies break them apart. Compound this with the horrendous Soviet invasion as both families go their separate ways. The story unfolds as the history of Afghanistan plays out in the background. How one boy, now a man, tries to redress his wrongs and assuage his guilt is the heart of the second half of the film.

It is a tale about betrayal, tradition, class, guilt, shame, cowardice and ultimate redemption. These powerful themes running through the film combined with solid production values, fine acting and terrific music make for one very fine film. Go - you will learn from it.

Acting: The acting all around is sensational. It was a stroke of genius to not use actors that we are familiar with. The two boys played by Zekeria Ebrahimi and Ahmad Khan Mahmidzada could not be better. These unknown, wonderful young actors have now been shuttled to safe harbor should anything bad happen to them as a repercussion to their roles in this film. Khalid Abdalla is terrific as the grown up Amir. Special kudos to Baba - Homayon Ershadi. His strong, noble performance as the father is reminiscent of Omar Shariff in his younger days. The rest of the cast works well too, including, Shaun Toub, Nabi Tahna, Ali Dinesh, Atossa Leoni.

Predilection: I loved the book.

Critters: A German Sheperd and lots of goats (who end up in the food category below).

Food: See above goat and of course, Kabobs galore.

Sex Spectrum: There is a sensitively filmed, but effective child rape scene.

Blatant Product Placement: War is hell.

Soundtrack: A fine eclectic array of music from Alberto Iglesias

Opening Titles: A beautiful graphic of all the names presented in the glorious Islamic calligraphy style.

Visual Art: Cinematographer Roberto Schaefer does an amazing job of recreating Kabul.

Theater Audience: A handful of book loving people who were also nervous they would not like the film but afterwards we had a mini-discussion and all agreed it was not a disappointment.

Weather: It is cold in the winter in Afghanistan ( even though it was filmed in China)

Sappy Factor: 0

Squirm Scale: 1 - There is some squirming over the bullying and the horrifying emergence of the Taliban.

Drift Factor: I was hooked form the titles.

Predictability Level: High if you read the book. Probably high if you did not read the book too.

Tissue Usage: I wept a little.

Oscar Worthy: Why not? The adaptation was terrific.

Big Screen or Rental: Big screen for sure.

Length: Two hours.