Finding Neverland director Marc Forster adapts author Khaled Hosseini’s critically acclaimed novel about two childhood best friends forever torn apart as their country is ravaged by endless war and bitter strife. As children, Amir (Khalid Abdalla) and Hassan were inseparable; their long days under azure Kabul skies often spent getting into innocent mischief or preparing for the highly anticipated kite-fighting tournament. When the day of the tournament arrives, however, a glorious victory is quickly offset by a timorous act of betrayal that ultimately serves as the catalyst for catastrophe. Not long after that fateful day, Amir moves away to America, leaving his old friend behind just as the ominous specter of war turns tragically tangible. Two decades later, Amir returns to Afghanistan to find his beloved homeland has now fallen under the iron-fisted rule of the Taliban. Still, all hope for redemption hasn’t been lost just yet, because now that Amir stands face to face with the irrepressible secrets that he struggled so vigilantly to bury, he will receive one last chance to make peace with the past, and lay the groundwork for a brighter future.
The movie is filled with some excellent scenes. The scene where Amir asks his friend Hassan to hit him back or the scene where he accuses him of stealing are very good. The orphanage owner’s outburst scene is excellent. The child rape scene is quite disturbing and Amir’s cowardly behavior is shocking. There is a disturbing scene where the Taliban stone a woman accused of adultery. The best scene of the movie is the scene where Baba stands up to the Russian soldier in defense of a unknown woman.
The story is about Amir’s childhood betrayal of his friend and his eventual redemption. The movie is very good but the same person who raped Hassan also ending up as the rapist of his son seemed a bit contrived. Also the twist with respect to Baba and Hassan is a bit contrived too though it does provide a stronger motive for Amir’s actions from then on. The movie covers a wide range of issues like the Russian invasion, Taliban rule, child rape and pedophilia.
The movie is beautifully shot. The 1978 Afghanistan as well as the 2000 Afghanistan are recreated very well. The background score is excellent and it was nominated for Best Original Score at the Golden Globes and the Oscars. The movie was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden Globe Awards in 2007.
Khalid Abdalla is very good as Amir and Atossa Leoni is good as Soraya. Homayoun Ershadi is excellent as Baba. Shaun Toub is very good as Rahim Khan. Zekeria Ebrahimi is good as the Young Amir. Ahmad Khan Mahmoodzada is excellent as Young Hassan. Elham Ehsas is good as Young Assef.
The movie is very leisurely paced. So not everyone will like it. And the movie is not perfect in that a part of it feels a bit contrived. But its still worth a watch for portraying the change Afghanistan went through and for covering issues like pedophilia and child rape.
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