THROWBACK REVIEW- The Kite Runner: On Afghanistan, Taliban rule and friendship


‘For you, a thousand times over.’ These are the words that echo throughout ‘The Kite Runner’; a film that beautifully encompasses guilt, love, sin and redemption against the backdrop of a child’s Afghanistan and an adult’s America. In the early Seventies, in the days before the devastating rise of the Taliban, our protagonist Amir spends his time indulging in common Afghan past times, including kite flying, with his friend, and servant, Hassan. Almost from birth, the two grow side by side; as close as brothers. However, there is something that makes their friendship different to those of other children. Hassan is a ‘Hazara’, meaning that he is often subject to cruel taunts and is expected to obey the requests of the ‘Pashtun’, of which Amir is one. As a result, he is the boy-master of Hassan; a fact that a young, conflicted Amir uses to his advantage in an unsettling scene by questioning Hassan as to whether he would eat dirt for him if he asked. Arguably, it is the actions carried out by Amir as a child that serve as the centre of the movie, as his decisions eventually impact the rest of his adult life, even after he moves to America following the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. Regret and guilt are, by far, two of the most important themes within ‘The Kite Runner’, as we watch Amir battle with the consequences of his childhood ‘crime’ and also as his opportunity to achieve redemption unfolds; leading him to return to his homeland, where we are greeted with both stunning views of Afghanistan’s landscape and the unescapable horrors of Taliban rule. One of the most fascinating things about this movie, for me, was the portrayal of a non-Western culture. Sadly, it is rare that mainstream media shows us anything of the intricacies and beauties of Middle Eastern life, so, to find this scattered throughout the film was a wonderful experience. Moreover, the use of a setting that differs to those of Hollywood’s usual choices allow us to further understand that the themes of anger and desperation that run through ‘The Kite Runner’ serve as a reminder that grief is universal; that, regardless of our cultural differences, humanity will always find common ground in devastation. Above all, this film is a haunting depiction of friendship. It is not without emotional turmoil yet nor is it sans hope. Ultimately, it is an underrated, almost hidden, piece of delicate storytelling that one would struggle to forget. It is, to me, one of the finest examples of cinema’s ability to educate and affect us.

By Hannah Ryan






HANNAHHannah, is 18 and from England. She likes little indie movies, Christoph Waltz, David Fincher, Spike Jonze and cool female actresses. She loves to chill with her amazing girlfriend and debate over dumb romantic movies with her and she also likes music,  pretty much all music types from cheesy adolescent pop to indie feminist rockers. Taylor Swift and Clarke Griffin are the only other things that matter to her.

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