| Holes (2003) |
Holes is the story of an unfortunate young man named Stanley Yelnats who is falsely found guilty of a crime he didn't commit and sentenced to stay at a youth detention center called Camp Green Lake. As he is quick to find out the name is ironic for the current circumstances and not a very good indication of the location itself, which is in the middle of a vast desert and isolated from the rest of civilization.
There he is to serve his sentence by digging one hole each day out in the hot afternoon sun before returning to camp and going to bed before doing it all again the next day. The hard labor is stated to be part of the punishment, but many of the other boys are wondering if there might be more to their situation than just hard work. One thing they are certain of is that Camp Green Lake may not be quite what it seems.
As Stanley goes about his daily work he manages to make a single friend, a young boy nicknamed Zero by the other camp residents. The word around camp was that he was named that because he wasn't very intelligent, but he turns out to be far smarter than the others give him credit for.
He only has trouble reading, which Stanley offers to help him witch in exchange for help digging his hole each day. As the story goes on they begin to wonder about the mysterious past of the camp and how its history is significant to the present. These events are shown through flashbacks that show Camp Green Lake back when it was a bustling town covered in lush plants.
As the story unfolds these past events play a larger and larger role in the current day story with several of the older characters directly influencing the plot with their actions. More of Stanley and Zero's history is revealed as well as the cause of the lack of rainfall that dried up Camp Green Lake into the state it is in now.
Eventually, the two friends must solve the mystery of their seemingly innocuous detention center and find a way to restore Camp Green Lake to its former glory.
The movie is mostly fair in its portrayal of the young boys at the detention center and shows that even a small misunderstanding can lead to dire consequences. For a children's movie Holes shows a surprising amount of maturity in its themes and doesn't shy away from dark subject matter that other movies aimed at kids probably would.
Ultimately, the portrayal of both genders is pretty fair and the female villains suffer the same karmic punishments that the men do. For this reason I highly recommend checking out Holes with your family at least once as a rental. Of course, this movie would make a great addition to any film fans collection regardless of age.
- Reviewed by Midnight Undead
Rating: PG (Violence, mild language and some thematic elements)
Run Time: 117 minutes