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:: Holes

Known for directing action thrillers like The Fugitive, Chain Reaction and Collateral Damage, Andrew Davis turns his hand to the young audience genre. No, it’s not a rowdy bunch of kids making mayhem and overdosing the audience with their saccharine cuteness. Holes is about overcoming obstacles, developing friendships, dealing with peer group bullying told with adventure, humour and magical realism.

Adapted from Louis Sachar’s award-winning book of the same name, the film tells the tale of Stanley Yelnats (Shia LeBeouf) who, dogged by four generations of bad luck, has the misfortune to be sent to a correction camp after being wrongly accused for a misdemeanour.

Camp Green Lake is a barren sun-baked place run by The Warden, a tough but feminine officer who paints her nails with rattlesnake venom, played with great integrity by Sigourney Weaver. The Warden’s two assistants, Mr Sir played by Jon Voight - a hoot as the swaggering self-important subordinate - and Dr Pendanski (Tim Blake Nelson), keep the boys busy by making them dig holes. Why they are digging holes and what they are looking for is a mystery. As fate would have it, Camp Green Lake will prove to be a boon to Stanley.

Running parallel to the present day story, is the story of Kissing Kate Barlow (Patricia Arquette) who became an outlaw in the Wild West, after her relationship with a Black onion seller, Sam (Dule Hill) was foiled by the local Sheriff, who turned out to be The Warden’s deceased grandfather.

Then there’s the story of Stanley Yelnat’s great grandfather in Latvia who brought on the family curse because he forgot to perform a task. It’s a yarn of three stories told at once in two different centuries over two different continents, deftly woven together. This compelling tale of courage, perseverance and friendship will warm hearts of all ages.