The effect of the movie is: tedious. Which is tragic because the story content is compelling.
The filmmakers miss all of the emotional moments.
The directing is unsure and, sadly, ineffective.
This movie cannot figure out what it is or who it is about.
The director, Marc Forster, has veered around formulaic, Hollywood story-structure; a approach which works great in unconventional stories like “Stranger Than Fiction” and “Finding Neverland”, but this film seemed lost and unfinished.
The emotional weight of the story should have left us on the floor sobbing, but no one in the audience cried.
If released as is, it will under-perform at the box office.
The rape scene is hard to believe because there was not enough menace built up in the young bullies.
The film needed to be longer to properly fill-out the many characters, however, unless the pacing and emotional peaks are worked out, a longer movie would only be more tedious.
What a wonderful transition between the ride out of Afghanistan and into California, however, I would have preferred if the comparison was even more obvious: “Hey, look how similar these two places are!”
The camera never lingered enough. However… the story would have to be re-worked if any lingering was added because it would make the movie even longer. It would make a tedious movie more tedious.