Both Marc Foster and I have spent most of November 07, working on the Kite Runner. Him, trying to finish the post production and me, trying to finish the book. He beat me to it! I finally finished the book last week and bought myself a ticket last night at the movies. The last time I saw a movie by myself was in the early nineties, when I watched Braveheart on the last show of the last day. None of my school friends wanted to see a depressing film about a man in a skirt (this was before it won the academy awards). Similar situation last night. Most of my friends were either not in town or not too keen to watch a film by the ‘Monster’s ball’ director. The little or no advertising that the film got in the States dint help either.
I walked into screen 2 of the multiplex moments before the start, to spoil the privacy of a mexican couple – the only other souls in the hall. Thankfully, a newly wed Indian couple joined us minutes later. So there you go. The projector in a downtown Houston cinema, beaming the film just for the 5 of us….I mean, 3 of us.
Bad news first (spoiler alert!).
Soraya’s eyebrows do not meet.
The guy playing Amir cant act to save his life.
There is no harelip.
and did I mention Soraya’s eyebrows dont meet?
I loved the movie, nevertheless. I cant remember any other time when I finished a book and watched the movie so soon after, before the hangover died away. Its good and bad, I guess. Bad because you keep praying that the image on screen is exactly the same as the one you painted in your mind. So, you are extremely disappointed if it turns out otherwise.
For example, I was really looking forward to the ‘half-time in the soccer match’ scene. Not for the killings, but for the scene when the match resumes, after. I thought that was the essence of the scene, more than the killings themselves. Sadly, there is no ‘after’ in the film.
Another scene I was dying to see was the fight between Assef and Amir at the end. The way I played it out in my mind, there will be a large orchestra playing, a lot of slow motion, and a lot of close ups of Amir laughing – almost psychedelic. Almost like the scene where Bruce Willis fights the killer in ‘Unbreakable’. I thought that scene was more poetic than anything else, when I read the book. Unfortunately in this film, the fight scene is just that. A fight scene.
However, it is a great film at the end of the day. I was actually pleasantly surprised to see that none of the scenes were over romanticised – like the way I did in my mind. They are actually very ‘matter of fact’ly and that was an interesting perspective for me. The film also looks extremely authentic. The flea market, the soccer field, the pomegranate tree…
And the boy who plays Hassan is amazing. His smile has all the innocence you would expect and then more. However, the best actor in the film is undoubtedly baba. Bravo! His transition from the imposing father to the cancer patient is so real, that you will almost miss it.
When I left the theatre in the cold of the night, I was really glad I made the trip. However, I couldnt help feel that the film was playing catch-up with the book, most of the time. It was as though some of the scenes were meant to sprint, so the next scene could be there in time. Or may be it was my book hangover acting up. I would love to hear from somebody who saw it, without reading the book.