Holes Movie Review


Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

Cover of the original publication of the novel.

Holes – 2003 – Rated PG-13 – 2 hours Directed by Andrew Davis

Let’s see how deep the hole really goes.

Released in 2003, ‘Holes’ is a coming of age movie that has not been forgotten, and remains a must watch for many around the world. Starring Shia Lebouf as Stanley, and directed by Andrew Davis, the film has a lot to say about adolescence, destiny, and justice. These themes seem big for a movie with a younger target audience, but it manages to make these themes disgustable.

The movie centers around Stanley Yelnats (Shia Lebouf), a young boy who finds himself in a heap of trouble after being accused of stealing a basketball player’s shoes from a charity auction. He is adamant about his innocence but the evidence against him seems damning, because the shoes fall from the sky onto his head, and are later found in his possession.

For his crime, Stanley is given the choice of either going to jail or to Camp Green Lake. Stanley chooses the latter because it sounds nicer than jail. But, Camp Green Lake isn’t the remote getaway Stanley was hoping for.

Stanley arrives at Camp Green Lake to find that it’s not a lake at all. In fact, it’s basically a prison camp in the middle of the desert. This is where he meets Mr. Sir (Merion Sevillo), the film’s main antagonist. Mr. Sir represents authority in the story, and while his name might be a little on the nose, his role is an important one. While Stanley finds himself confused by the injustice of his situation, Mr. Sir represents that very same justice.

After the rules of Camp Green Lake are explained to Stanley, most of which concern what the boys are and aren’t allowed to do, he meets the characters that reside in the camp. Most notably, a boy named Zero, played by Khleo Thomas, who doesn’t speak.

Despite the strange fellow campers, some of whom go by names like Armpit (Byron Cotton), the strangest thing about the camp is the odd form of corporal punishment in the form of digging holes, seemingly in the hope of finding something. Stanley soon finds himself digging a hole every day, five feet deep and five feet wide.

After doing this for a while, Stanley finds something odd in one of the holes, a metal casing of some kind. Once he shows his finding off, another boy in the camp takes it from him so that he can get the day off from digging. This discovery quickly becomes a search, and it becomes apparent that the higher ups at the camp are looking for something specific.

Stanley soon sparks up a friendship with Zero, the troubled young boy who doesn’t speak, and begins teaching him how to read and write. Zero has been at the camp for a long time and doesn’t have any family outside.

Zero plans and decides to escape from the camp one day and Stanley decides to go into the desert after him. He finds Zero underneath an old canoe and eating old jars of peach preserves, and carries him up a mountain in search of water. Stanley and Zero are tied together by destiny through an old curse that their ancestors were involved in. This is cryptically revealed to the audience through a series of flashbacks.

Stanley and Zero survive up in the hills for a while, eating sweet onions, before they decide to go back to Camp Green Lake to find out what the warden was so eager to find. They go back all the way down and dig in the hole that Stanley found his treasure in. They find a treasure chest belonging to Stanley’s great great grandfather. It even has Stanley’s name on it.

The film ends with an unearthing of Camp Green Lake and for almost all of the characters. Stanley learned a lot of valuable lessons in the story. Zero and him go on to lead fulfilling lives and Zero even finds his family. I consider this an all time great movie and if you haven’t yet seen it, don’t waste any time. The lessons that all the characters learn are all time classics. The movie is very important to me and I hope everyone else likes it as much as I do.