“There is a way to be good again.”
The friendship between Amir and Hassan forms the core of the story. Hassan & his father work as the domestic help in Amir’s house. Both boys are of similar age and have a rare friendship. Hassan stands up for Amir every time, protecting him from bullies and making him look good to his father, by working with him to win a kite flying competition.
That is the day that everything changes, as Amir witnesses Hassan being brutalised by older boys, but does nothing. Amir’s guilt and shame about his cowardice leads to the deterioration of the friendship and Hassan and his father finally leave the house they’ve lived in for so long.
The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan leads Amir and his father to flee to the US, where they begin a new life. The ghosts of Afghanistan still linger and when Amir has a chance to return to his homeland, it is not just to seek forgiveness.
The movie is disturbing. With its scenes of implied sodomy, stoning and general brutality in the harsh climes of Afghanistan (the movie was shot in China for security reasons), it leaves you concerned for the state of the world. Even more disturbingly, it reinforces beliefs that the western world may harbour about Islamic nations – some of which may be true, some exaggerated.
I also did not think it wise to have a 12a rating. Are children of 12 old enough to witness scenes such as those in the movie? Perhaps the censor board thinks they would have seen more in their lifetime by then. I hope not.
In all, it was a fantastic movie and very thought provoking. Mr.R and I were the only non-whites in the almost full cinema hall. And by the end of the movie, there were very few dry eyes around.
If you have the chance to see the film, please do. I haven’t read the book yet. I will, but after the horror of the cinematic version has faded away in my head. The film was graphic, but the book is likely to be even more descriptive in its brutality. I don’t want to have to deal with that right now.
My rating : 8/10
For the young Hassan’s acting : 10/10. May he be safe in Kabul.
Glimpses from the movie are available on the official website.