Holes
4 out of 5 starsSHADOWS MUST SEE MUST-SEE
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There's so much going on in this film that it deserves to be a classic for years to come ... for kids and grown-ups alike. Based on screenwriter Sachar's bestselling novel, it's the story of Stanley Yelnats IV (LaBeouf), a young teen unjustly sent to a summer work-camp in the middle of the desert, where the warden (Weaver), the sheriff-like Mr Sir (Voight) and the camp counsellor (Nelson) make the boys dig holes in the dirt to build character. But they're obviously looking for something! Stanley has trouble fitting in with the tight gang of boys, but befriends the group's outsider (Thomas). Meanwhile, his father (Winkler) is trying to solve the problem of foot odour, and Stanley thinks this is all part of a curse a gypsy woman (Kitt) put on the family several generations back ... a curse that's linked into the Wild West history of the desert itself.

Basically there are four movies here, with fully formed stories from the Old Country, the Wild West, the camp itself and the parents back home. All are interwoven brilliantly to tell a single tale about making peace with your past and getting on with life as it comes. It's a bit frivolous perhaps, but so much fun you won't mind at all, peppered with deliciously comic performances from Weaver, Nelson and especially Voight, who's hilarious from the top of his astonishing hat-hair to the toes of his grubby cowboy boots. One surprisingly moving story strand involves Arquette's schoolmarm who has a tender interracial romance with an onion salesman (Hill) before turning into a rough-riding outlaw. Meanwhile, the teens are superb, generating a Stand by Me level of camaraderie that's completely infectious, adding layers of emotion to the story that you never see coming. This is sharp, witty filmmaking, from Sachar's witty script to Davis' expansive and inventive direction, superbly balancing the drama, humour and tension and never losing the pace amid the flood of cross-cuts and flashbacks. There are so many delightful little touches and warped bits of storytelling that I can't imagine anyone who won't love this film.

cert PG themes, some violence 7.Jun.03

dir Andrew Davis
scr Louis Sachar
with Shia LaBeouf, Khleo Thomas, Sigourney Weaver, Jon Voight, Patricia Arquette, Tim Blake Nelson, Brenden Jefferson, Max Kasch, Henry Winkler, Siobhan Fallon Hogan, Dule Hill, Eartha Kitt, Scott Plank, Damien Luvara, Roma Maffia, Rick Fox
release US 18.Apr.03; UK 24.Oct.03
Disney
03/US 1h57

Dig in! LaBeouf and Thomas may have uncovered something.

weaver voight arquette
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send your review to Shadows... holes Frankie Num, Argentina: 4 out of 5 stars "I think this movie was really cool, and i really liked all the boys, especially Khleo Thomas. He's gorgeous!" (10.Jan.04)
2003 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall

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