The Kite Runner is a 2007 drama film directed by Marc Forster based on the novel of the same name by Khaled Hosseini. It tells the story of Amir, a well-to-do boy from the Wazir Akbar Khan district of Kabul, who is tormented by the guilt of abandoning his friend Hassan, the son of his father's Hazara servant. The story is set against a backdrop of tumultuous events, from the fall of the monarchy in Afghanistan through the Soviet invasion, the mass exodus of Afghan refugees to Pakistan and the United States, and the Taliban regime. Though most of the film is set in Afghanistan, these parts were mostly shot in Kashgar, China, due to the dangers of filming in Afghanistan at the time. the majority of the film's dialogue is in Dari, with the remainder spoken in English. The child actors are native speakers, but several adult actors had to learn Dari. Filming wrapped up on December 21, 2006, and the film was expected to be released on November 2, 2007. However, after concern for the safety of the young actors in the film due to fears of violent reprisals to the sexual nature of some scenes in which they appear, its release date was pushed back six weeks to December 14, 2007. The Kite Runner was released on DVD on March 25, 2008. A HD DVD release was announced for the same date, but was canceled following the format's demise. The film was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2007. The film's score by Alberto Iglesias was nominated for Best Original Score at the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards.
In Kabul, prior to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, well-to-do young boy Amir and his loyal young Hazara servant Hassan are best of friends. Amir enjoys writing and literature, reading stories to the eager but illiterate Hassan. Amir's Baba (father), is contemptuous of Amir's writing and privately regards him as a weakling for letting Hassan protect him from bullies. Baba's friend Rahim Khan demonstrates interest and encourages Amir. Assef, a young psychopath with rancor toward Hazaras, confronts Hassan and Amir, but Hassan prevents the attack with a slingshot, a birthday gift from Amir. Assef swears revenge, ridiculing their relationship as mere master and servant. Soon the Soviets invade Afghanistan; forcing Baba, a known anti-communist, to flee the country leaving Rahim Khan as property caretaker. En route to Pakistan, Baba bravely risks his life defending a female refugee from a Soviet soldier who demands to rape her in return for safe passage for all. Baba and Amir eventually reach the United States as humble refugees in San Francisco, California. Baba tends a gas station while Amir attends community college and vends at a weekly flea market. There, Amir meets Soraya Taheri; Soraya is interested in Amir's writing although her father, the ex-General Taheri, a proud traditional Pashtun, is contemptuous. Baba is stricken mortally ill but manages to obtain General Taheri's permission for Amir to marry Soraya. Although Soraya feels bound to confess her previous relationships, they are happily married despite an inability to conceive children. As foreshadowed in the movie's first scene, Amir's debut novel is published, dedicated to Rahim Khan who encouraged his writing. Rahim Khan soon contacts Amir to hurry to Pakistan, indicating "there is a way to be good again". Amir arrives to learn that Hassan eventually became caretaker of Baba's house, but the Taliban executed him and his wife for loyally refusing to abandon the property. Rahim further reveals that Hassan was in fact Amir's half-brother, son of Baba and the sterile Ali's wife. Amir, angered for being deceived so long, reads a heart-wrenching humble letter from Hassan decrying what happened to Afghanistan and asking Amir to one day return. Rahim Khan now reveals he wishes Amir to retrieve Hassan's now orphaned son, Sohrab. Amir, overcoming fearful reluctance, arrives in Taliban-controlled Kabul complete with fake beard. Amir's driver, Farid, helps him observe the subjugated life under the cruel and ruthless Taliban. Tracing Sohrab to an orphanage, they learn that a powerful Taliban official who regularly demands children for nefarious purposes (in return for much needed donations) has recently taken Sohrab. Amir and Farid are told that they can meet the powerful Taliban official at a football match, where he regularly 'punishes' innocent people. Reluctantly Amir accompanies Farid to a football match, witnessing a half time stoning of accused adulterers, in order to see this official. Amir arranges an appointment at the official's heavily guarded home and discovers that this is none other than the bully Assef. Despite the ban on music and dancing, a numbed Sohrab is presented as Assef's dance boy. Amir finally stands up to Assef, demanding Sohrab be released to him. Assef agrees but makes a deal, saying that Amir must fight and win the boy. In the end, Assef brutally beats Amir. Witnessing this, Sohrab, secretly in possession of the slingshot his father received from Amir so long ago, gravely wounds Assef by hurling a bolt in Assef's left eye (When Hassan stood up for Amir a long time ago, he threatened Assef that he would wound the same eye that Sohrab shot). Amir and Sohrab daringly escape the house. They flee the country to find that Rahim has died. Sohrab runs away from Amir but is found in front of the biggest Mosque in the world, saying he felt dirty because of what Assef did to him. Amir, who wanted to bring Sohrab home, met a lawyer, who asked for Sohrab's parent's death certificates. The lawyer said that it is either that or Sohrab must be put into a orphanage for a certain time. Amir, who made a promise to Sohrab that he wouldnt go back to a orphanage, begs Sohrab to wait just a little longer. In the end, Amir was forced to ask Sorhab about the orphanage, because it was his only option if they wanted to go to America together. Sohrab was terrified because he thinks that the orphanage will abuse him, like the Taliban officer did. At the last minute, Amir receives a phone call from his wife in America, saying that Sohrab does not have to go to America, and when Amir goes into the bathroom to tell Sohrab, he finds Sohrab had tried to commit suicide. In the hospital, Amir doesn't know what to think. And then he begins to pray to a God he did not even know existed. He prayed, and Sohrab was alive. Sohrab being alive triggered Amir to start being religious. Sohrab, who is angry at Amir and his new yet confusing life, is silent. Amir takes the traumatized and withdrawn Sohrab back to the US. When General Taheri one night asks why Amir brought "that Hazara boy" back with him, Amir, again standing up to an overbearing figure, informs the General of their familial relationship and demands he never deride Sohrab as Hazara again. Later, Amir shows Sohrab the tricks of kite flying, which he and Hassan used to do in the old days. Slowly Sohrab begins to interact with Amir, who enthusiastically runs the kite, pledging to Sohrab with the phrase that Hassan offered to Amir so long ago: "For you, a thousand times over."