Director Marc Forster's (Finding Neverland) interpretation of Khaled Hosseini's best-selling novel is warm and faithful, the LA Times and NY Times notwithstanding.
The child actors (relocated for their own safely because of the implicit male rape scene and later, child abuse which does not reflect well on Islamic cultures) are fresh and authentic. Any awards, however, should go to Homayoun Ershadi who plays Baba, the father of Amir. He centers the film and carries it because his action, after all, was the catalyst of everything that followed.
The plot of the story can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Kite_Runner and my longer review for St. Anthony Messenger here:
For me, the words, "There is a chance to do good again" drive the entire picture. I loved the way the grown Amir not only reconciles with the wrong he did as a child to his friend (not unlike Briony in Atonement) by risking his own life, but how he reconciles with God as well. This gives the story/movie a dimension that people of all faiths can appreciate.
Kite running is a favorite "sport" among Afghanistan boys; it's a kite war really, and it is around what should have been carefree recreation, that the drama, tragedy, and atonement unfold.
Friendship, regret, goodness, atonement, forgiveness, are just some of the themes of a sensitive, powerful, and inspiring story made into a film. There is a way to do good again, and to finally be free. Every social ill of the world can be talked about in terms of this film, from the mistreatment of women and children, to war, greed, the abuse of power, etc. At it's heart it is a universal tale.
Cinematography is gorgeous, though stark.