The Kite Runner is the type of film one would expect from Marc Forster – banal, trite and apt to ramrod simplistic symbolism down viewers’ throats. Having never read Khaled Hosseini’s acclaimed bestseller, I can’t speak to the faithfulness of Forster’s adaptation, but what he puts on screen is corny and/or offensive pap of the first order. In recounting the tale of Amir (Zekeria Ebrahimi), a rich Afghan boy and budding storyteller, and Hassan (Ahmad Khan Mahmidzada), his saintly best friend and the son of Amir’s father’s (Homayon Ershadi) loyal servant, Forster exhibits nary a hint of genuine interest in his story’s underlying issues of class difference, tradition, and cultural standards of masculinity, too busy is he filling everyone’s mouth with hoary platitudes and lavishing attention on cheesy CG kite-flying sequences. Staging big, sweeping emotional incidents for maximum melodramatic effect (including a “tastefully” shot incident of rape) is the director’s prime concern, meaning that any trace of honest-to-goodness humanity suffers a quick death. The early section detailing Amir and Hassan’s childhood in 1978 is schematic and blunt, as Forster wastes no opportunity to reiterate that Amir is a coward and Hassan is a paragon of virtue. And the film’s reductiveness is epitomized by its cartoon, black-and-white conception of Afghanistan, which is a shimmering paradise during Amir’s youth and then, when the adult Amir (Khalid Abdalla) travels back to Kabul in 2000, is depicted as the Taliban-run seventh circle of hell. That everyone Amir cares about must die so that he can be “good again” is noxious enough; that The Kite Runner climaxes with such a laughably contrived reunion between Amir and his childhood bully, however, simply reveals the entire affair’s bedrock disingenuousness.