When, a few months back, Marc Forster was announced as the director of the upcoming 22nd James Bond movie I was cautiously stoked (I love much of his previous work, but I was worried about a non-action director doing a mainly action movie). After watching this film, though, I'm absolutely terrified of how it will turn out. This film's (thankfully) limited action scenes are so ineptly filmed and constructed that it defies explanation. How the hell is this guy gonna pull off a Bond movie?!? Beyond that I found this to be a really mixed bag. I really disliked the book (I saw it as one of those 'great books...for people that don't read books') but I was cautiously optimistic that it might work better as a film. Much of what's here really does work. Some of the performances are superb, Homayoun Ershadi as Baba and Ahmad Khan Mahmidzada as Young Hassan in particular, while others are unbelievably amateurish and awful (such as Elham Ehsas as Young Assef). Despite the issues with performances for a good deal of this I thought it really worked and I felt myself really moved when [SPOILER] Amir gets Hassan's last letter [End SPOILER] almost despite itself. The film is very emotionally manipulative...but I think that's far more a product of the source material. Unfortunately the PUTRID action scene really ripped me out of the film it felt so awful and out of place. Other than that scene, I think Forster did pretty much as good a job as could have been done with this material.
Overall Score: 6/10