The Kite Runner review

Marc Forster’s prestige adaptation of Khaled Hosseini’s delicate, haunting novel about two immutable Afghani friends – privileged bookworm Amir and his loyal shadow Hassan, a servant in the Kabul household of Amir’s intellectual father – should be drumming up Oscar buzz, not impatient tapping on cinema armrests. The film deftly spans the cruelty of Afghan history, from the Soviet invasion to Taliban desolation (beard patrols, stonings, two-faced morality), delivering an absorbing snapshot of the country’s deep-rooted customs. But things flounder where they should soar, thanks to lacklustre kid-thesping and the slightly trudging pace. The contentious child-rape sequence is sensitively handled by Forster, who directs in his usual quiet, understated fashion. But you’ll also be left praying he doesn’t suck the life out of the next Bond film…

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