[Reel-Reviews] The Kite Runner (4 stars)
A free preview ticket to watch a best-selling book made into an Oscar-tipped film in an LA cinema? You bet we wanted to be there!
The Kite Runner is anticiapted on several fronts. As Marc Forster's newest film (he of Finding Neverland, Monster's Ball and Bond 22). As a "Hollywood" film that could make serious box office returns without a single starry name. Mostly as the long-awaited adaptation of Khaled Hosseini's book of the same name. The audience was certainly buzzing as we took our seats.
The good news is that the film delivers on all those fronts and more. I suspect this screening was a "word-of-mouth" builder to help sell it when it finally gets its release, and it earned and frankly deserves this.
Great source material in the form of the book's plot, and very faithfully adapted
Fantastic performances especially by the younger actors
A well-delivered directorial narrative and some wonderful cinematography
The subtitles - too many for a non-arthouse audience?
Maybe there is too much plot to fit into two hours
M said later (not having read it) that he thought he could it would be a better book than a film. I think it's possibly true, but mainly because the film is too easily resolved in the two-hour timeframe, whereas you have to live with the book for days... And essentially, it's also another film about writers and writing (see Atonement).
My final concern isn't likely to be one that effects too many other people - but as a Brit abroad in LA, I was very concerned that the final scenes would seem too triumpahilist, too much of a "victory" for the American character and the US in general. As it was, some sensitive humour and near perfect timing avoided any such hint of this.
Here's hoping that it gets the box office it deserves.
IMDB listing and technorati tag: the kite runner