Holes is a 2003 American adventure comedy-drama film directed by Andrew Davis, produced by Lowell D. Blank, Mike Medavoy and Teresa Tucker-Davies with music by Joel McNeely and based on the 1998 novel by Louis Sachar (who also wrote the screenplay).
Why It Rocks
Holes works in spite of the strange setting, and the strange story, because it understands people; More specifically because it is honest in the way it deals with the inmates of Camp Green Lake.
Holes is an extremely faithful adaptation of the book, almost line for line, hitting all the notes easily recognizable from the pages of the book.
The camp's guidance councilor, Mr. Pendanski (Tim Blake Nelson) is a different matter entirely. He acts the part of the caring sensitive counselor, but he quick, quicker than anyone else in authority to unleash the most cruel verbal barbs at his charges.
Holes is an intelligent, insightful and witty family movie. It entertains, and not in any cheap way. It is not a comedy, though it has its laughs. It dares to be compelling, where many family movies tend to play it safe and conventional.
What is also refreshing about this film the good nature of its main character. He does not believe in a family curse, he is not bitter about the infamous exploits of his `no good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather.' In fact he loves hearing the story.
The movie captures the way boys interact with one another perfectly. It captures the way boys can bully each other, they way they can win admiration, the way they fight with one another, and the way boys ally themselves along the age line.
There is, at times, a lot of sadness in the film, but not a lot wallowing in angsty silliness and that is refreshing.
Stanley Yelnats (Shia LaBeouf before Transformers) is a well-written character, when we first meet him, He has been falsely accused of stealing a pair of baseball shoes freshly donated to a homeless shelter auction by a famous baseball player, and is immediately put on trial. He also is not bitter about the past and determined to not let it affect him in the way it has affected his father and grandfather.
Louis Sachar, author of the original novel, was able to write the screenplay for the film alongside director Andrew Davis, giving him near complete creative control and consult.