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Wick's Review

Created Dec 28, 2007 03:38AM PST • Edited Feb 03, 2019 07:03PM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Perfect 5.0

    Devastatingly good story, achingly well performed, The Kite Runner – a must see movie and among the best of a very good year – illuminates one of the most important cultures of our time. Not light fare, though wonderfully joyous in stretches, The Kite Runner serves as the perfect set-up for Charlie Wilson’s War, another must see current movie centered on Afghanistan under the Soviets.

    For me, seeing it today – December 27, 07, the day they assassinated1 Benazir Bhutto in neighboring Pakistan – makes it perhaps the most timely political movie I’ve ever seen.

    Seeing two boys so gifted and so joyous was a male bonding experience even sitting alone in the theater, notwithstanding the overwhelming inequities and craven self-interest that the film lays bare. Rather, seeing the cruelties – large and small – brought home the enduring need for Afghani freedom.

    1 “Assassinated”: a word of Islamic origin, after the original terrorists.

  3. Perfect 5.0

    The boys – Jr. Sultans of Kabul – are too perfect: one tall, fortunate, handsome, a freeloader for most of his life; the other short, intrepid, true, a Boy Yoda. Hassan, the Boy Yoda, brings out the worst, the best, the worst, and finally the very best of Amir, a freeloader no more in the end.

    The Father – Baba, Father in local language – comes across as a handsomely heroic, manly man, kind of an Afghan Armand Assante character. Aided and deeply abetted by his high class, he is nonetheless an honorable, decent and courageous man in a deeply dishonorable and indecent environment, a standard his son could not even conceive of upholding, till he did.

    Finally, the elder Amir – handsomely played by Khalid Abdalla – perfectly comes across as the diffidently gifted grown guy the young Amir was destined to become.

  4. Male Stars Perfect 5.0
  5. Female Stars Perfect 5.0
  6. Female Costars Perfect 5.0
  7. Male Costars Perfect 5.0
  8. Really Great 4.5

    Bravo! “Italian for Brilliant,” as young Amir tells Hassan.

    Non-fiction guy that I am, I didn’t read the book, though I’m apparently one of the few given its #2 position in Amazon’s Contemporary Fiction rankings. So stipulating that the book is almost certainly better, The Kite Runner succeeds grandly as a movie, origins be damned.

  9. Direction Really Great 4.5

    Kudos to the large production team – including Marc Forster, David Benioff, Khaled Hossenni, along with big name and not so big name executive producers, plus a Silicon Valley big wig – for pulling this off, especially for apparently finding a way to protect Ahmad Khan Mahmidzada, the young actor who plays Hassan, Boy Yoda. The staging of his sodomized rape was skillful and non-gratuitous, while his potential real life persecution for playing the part would have been cinéma-vérité irony writ large if it had been allowed to occur. So, again, Bravo!

  10. Play Perfect 5.0
  11. Music Perfect 5.0
  12. Visuals Perfect 5.0

    Afghanistan recreated as from a crystal clear memory of a place you’ve never before seen: first in its 70’s dusty glory, then in its Soviet subjugated pain, finally in its Taliban subjugated perversion.

    As a Bay Area guy, I also greatly appreciated the Bay front kite flying and graduation scenes, not to mention my gritty neighbor city of Fremont, Little Kabul here in Northern California.

  13. Content
  14. Risqué 2.3

    When rape is the only sex in a movie, the Sex scoring words alone can’t convey what you will see. Rape is, of course, violence delivered through sex, so you have to combine Sex and Violence to gain the full picture. Thus, I judge The Kite Runner to be a Violently Brutal and Sexually Titillating (didn’t go higher because of the admirably discreet way the rape scene was presented).

  15. Sex Titillating 2.1
  16. Violence Brutal 3.2
  17. Rudeness Salty 1.6
  18. Glib 1.2

    The Kite Runner is the rare fictional movie deserving of a 1x rFactor, almost. Stories like this – developing perfect drama over extended decades and generations – occur only in terrifically well conceived novels. Still, 1.2x reality: that’s old school, pre-FX movie magic.

  19. Circumstantial Glib 1.5

    Pity poor Afghanistan, her mourning neighbor Pakistan (Weep for your sister Benazir, O Pakistan!), and the still benighted other neighbor, Iran.

    While the 150% CircoReality score is for the circumlocutions of the story, the CircoReality of the environment in Afghanistan and Pakistan appears 100% real. A society where minor functionaries enforce silly neighborhood dictates with guns and sodomy need not fall far to foster perverts who fly full airliners into Twin Towers.

  20. Biological Natural 1.0
  21. Physical Natural 1.0


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