The Kite Runner (2007)


I flew a kite once. It was with my daughter. It was in Hawaii. Soon we both thought flying a kite was pretty boring. We decided to reel in the kite after a few minutes. I thought my arms would fall off before I got the damned thing back to earth. I’ve never gone deep sea fishing, but pulling in a marlin has to be far more engrossing than flying a kite. I understand the old put-down, “Go fly a kite!” We’re lucky Ben Franklin found electricity during his first kite-flight.

I’d rather go fly a kite than see The Kite Runner.

Afghanistan looks awful. It turns out to be worse than it looks.

In the movie when the Soviets invade in 1979, the Red infantry look downcast. They’d rather be in Potsdam.

It’s basically the Cain and Abel story. So’s East of Eden, and that version moves along pretty slowly. But The Kite Runner is really slow. Too much of the dialog is along the lines, “Hi.” “Hi.” “How are you?” “I’m fine.” And in many places there’s too much dialog like that in old Hollywood biblical grandiosities, dialog such as: “You have brought shame to our house and to the proud name of our family.” “Please forgive me, father.” “Go now, my son, into the desert, and meditate on what it means to show manliness.”

When they are boys together, Cain and Abel in The Kite Runner talk and act as though they are grown-ups. Every now and then one says something that might even serve well as a frontispiece quote in a serious book (even though The Kite Runner is largely schlock). They don’t come close to seeming to be kids. I don’t think the writer or the screenwriters understand that the boyhood they are trying to dramatize is not true to life.

Adam in The Kite Runner would have been played in the 1950s by Charlton Heston or somebody like him. Adam’s a strong man but unseeing about his sons. Adam just doesn’t understand. He causes hurt. Emotional pain. Lifelong guilt. He’d be great on Judge Judy when confronted by his hurt sons. Make a terrific show. Audience in tears too, as the confession and reconciliation proceed amidst the Nutrisystem commercials in which Don Shula loses 53 pounds. Even Judge Judy might be a little misty-eyed. Hell, everyone on set would tear-up.

So, if you can’t get out of going, sit at the end of a row so you can easily get to the lobby when you need to.