"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Monday, March 31, 2008

DVD Review: Holes

Based on a wildly popular children's book, the movie is targeted at the same audience. This is evident in most of the characters, which are largely caricatures or one-dimensional people. But those single dimensions are painted so colorfully and effectively that they give the illusion of character depth. Every actor fits his or her role perfectly. The kids are well cast and provide the movie with a vivid camaraderie. Shia LeBouf (Stanley) and Khleo Thomas (Zero) get the most screen time and are the most memorable. Zero in particular is impossible to dislike. The adults...Sigourney Weaver...Tim Blake Nelson...Patricia Arquette...Eartha Kitt...all are used very well, gobbling up their parts with gusto. Dule Hill brings great tenderness to his role as Sam, and Jon Voight stands out as the off-kilter Mr. Sir. He chews scenery with such exuberance that he nearly warrants boos and hisses.

The most surprising thing about "Holes" is the non-linear narrative. Few movies, let alone kids movies, are brave enough to bounce through time as "Holes" did. Initially this was disorienting, but once the three storylines are introduced, one can follow the tales with ease. Seeing disparate stories resolve into one another is a very satisfying and enjoyable movie experience, and "Holes" hits the proverbial bulls eye as it pulls everything together. Nothing is "Sixth Sense"-shocking, as one can garner the necessary information to piece the puzzle together in advance. But there are quality 'Aha!' or head-nodding moments as the film winds down.

As for the stories themselves, I hesitate to say much because I don't want to reveal anything about the refreshing uniqueness of the plot lines. If you know nothing about the book, you might be bewildered during the opening minutes, but eventually that confusion will give way to a smiling enjoyment of the movie's peculiar humor.

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