The problem with The Kite Runner isn’t that it doesn’t have a story to tell, it’s that the story is so spread out its difficult to put an emotional bead on any one thing. Since the impact is lessened what the writers (David Benioff) and director (Marc Forster) try to do is to give us connections that are too contrived and so false that they bleed into the ridiculous.
The first third of the story focuses on two childhood friends in Afghanistan. Amir belongs to the dominant ethnic group Pashtun, who also belongs to the dominant Sunni religion. His Father, Baba, is a wealthy man who sympathizes with the lower-caste ethnicity known as Hazara. Amir’s best friend Hassan is not only a Hazara but belongs to the minority of Shi’ite religious followers and is the son of Baba’s servant, making Hassan a servant as well. Growing up one can imagine that this was never a problem for Amir and Hassan – this separation of class and religion, though they share some dialogue about trust and friendship early on. It’s a problem that the neighborhood boys don’t appreciate his differences and ridicule Hassan. Hassan is the type of strong boy who stands up for himself. Baba respects that about him and he’s afraid that Amir won’t live up to those expectations. When Amir overhears his Father’s love for Hassan, he becomes jealous. But there’s no time for that as the kite flying contest approaches.