‘Holes’ Film Review: A Diamond in the Rough

“It was all because of his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig stealing-great-great-grandfather!”

If bad things always happened to you, would you think you were cursed? Well, our protagonist Stanley Yelnats IV (Shia LaBeouf), doesn’t believe so but his family sure does.

When a pair of shoes worn by a famous baseball player falls into Stanley’s hands, he’s soon picked up by the police and shortly after is thrown into a boot camp straight from a nightmare. Doomed to dig holes in the blazing hot sun for hours on end.

His only hope is to live out his days doing whatever it is the Warden asks of him and one day being able to gain his freedom.

You’re Involved

Making someone feel invested in the struggle of a fictional character is the hope of any writer. Making the audience feel as the protagonists do is one of their crowning achievements and Holes does just that!

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You want our leads to get through their trials and tribulations with as little trouble as possible. You truly do feel for these characters, and when they are met with hostility, you feel for them.

Wanting Justice

Stanley Yelnats IV has to put up with quite a few people who will really get under the audience’s skin. The Warden (Sigourney Weaver) & Mr. Sir (Jon Voight) are the two most significant villains that Yelnats faces. While watching the film, you’ll hate both of these characters, but that’s how you know the writers did a great job.

In the beginning, you’re subjected to watching the boys suffer under the wrath of Mr. Sir, and you can’t possibly understand how it could get worse for these kids. Then a whole new level of wickedness is introduced once the Warden appears on the screen. It’s quite the sight to see.

Good Young Actors

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Finding a good child actor is already a dime a dozen. However, having a film full of good performances from children is lovely. I usually dread to see children on screen with plenty of speaking lines solely because more often than not they won’t be able or act as well as their castmates. When children or anyone cannot act well, it pulls the viewer out of the narrative.

Not Just a Plain Donut… It Has Sprinkles!

Who would’ve thought a film that spends more than 70% of its runtime in a desert would be a fresh, enjoyable experience. While the environment isn’t breathtaking in the slightest, the story and characters bring life to the film.

In a location that screams dry, sorrow, and boring, it goes to show how well the pacing is during the film. A new factor or detail that changes the movie is often introduced. It’s almost like you’re getting hit with a large gust of wind during the summertime. You appreciate it, and no, it’s not happening every other minute, but it is present enough for you to bask in it.

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Conclusion

You mix a mystery, with hard labor, and despicable people all in a desert surrounded by nothing but sand. My first thought would be that it just doesn’t sound like a captivating film, but I’d be dead wrong.

From the child actors to the adult actors/actresses, I was sold from the start. Their performances really help you dive into their world, and you feel for the characters who are punished. Whether they deserved it or not, you still have some remorse for the children.

Making an exciting movie out of a dull environment is not an easy task. However, with excellent pacing and performances, you barely notice. You will sit there scene after scene wanting to continue watching the film until it’s over, and even then, you might still not have gotten your fill.

It’s a movie you’d have to see for yourself to understand why it is still remembered to this day. No one can tell you exactly how you should feel while watching the motion picture or not. However, it is definitely up on my list of family films that everyone should give a shot.

Verdict 9 out of 10 Stars

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