April 2003

Reviewed by Wilson Morales

Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures
Director: Andrew Davis
Producers: Phoenix Pictures
Screenwriter: Louis Sachar based on his award winning 1999 children’s book
Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Sigourney Weaver, Jon Voight, Tim Blake Nelson, Eartha Kitt, Patricia Arquette, Henry Wrinkler, Rick Fox, Dule Hill, & Khelo Thomas
Running Time: 117 min


Whenever anyone decides to make a film based from a book, there’s a little hesitation from some who don’t want their favorite story destroyed by Hollywood and its marketing machine. We’ve seen countless films where scenes have been expanded or deleted for the sake of keeping the viewer interested. Disney, known for its family oriented films, has put a wholesome winning film in “HOLES”. Adapted by Louis Sachar from his award winning novel, the film comes with many positive messages that will bring fans of all ages and be quite entertained.

Stanley Yelnats 4th (LeBeouf) is a teenager walking along a curb when a pair of sneakers lands atop his head. Suddenly he’s being chased by the cops and caught for having "stolen" the kicks. When he can’t explain the circumstances of how he ended up with them and the fact that his house is filled with lots of sneakers, courtesy of his father, his situation worsens. Stanley is then sentenced to 18 months to juvenile camp. His parents believe their misfortune has something to do with a curse placed on the family generations ago. While at Camp Green Lake, Stanley is quickly picked on by the older boys ZigZag, X-Ray, and Squid. The one person who befriends him is Zero (Thomas). Rather than mop the floors, clean up and learn their lesson for their crimes, the Warden (Weaver) has the boys digging holes in the desert everyday. It’s only a matter of time before anyone figures the reason behind the “holes”. Helping the warden are Mr.Sir (Voight) and Dr. Pendranski (Nelson). Meanwhile, flashbacks go back to the early days to illustrate the killing of Sam (Hill) who was the catalyst for everything that is going on.

Director Davis (The Fugitive) has managed to weave in several stories in this film without making it seem convoluted. Screenwriter Sachar was a good choice to adapt to his own story, for he knew what needed to be illustrated on screen and not lose the focal point of the story. LaBeouf, in his first starring role, holds his own amongst a bevy of talent. All of the kids give exceptional performances. It’s good to see Weaver, Voight, and Nelson take on roles that don’t put them in the spotlight as they are merely supporting characters, with Weaver menacing in her role. There are several messages of love, teamwork, friendship, and trust that make this film very enjoyable and a pleasure to watch.