Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • PG
  • Adventure, Comedy
  • 2003
  • 117 mins




Digging holes in the desert proves unexpectedly rewarding in this children's flick


Holes is based on a 1998 children's novel by Yiddish author Louis Sachar that was phenomenally popular with adults and children in America. The novel tells the story of Stanley Yelnats (LaBoeuf, who replaced Frankie Muniz when the 'Malcolm In The Middle' star dropped out due to scheduling conflicts), a teenager who's sent off to a merciless work camp in the desert after being wrongly convicted of stealing a pair of trainers.

Forced to dig huge holes all day long in the burning sun by wicked overseer "Mr Sir" (Voight), Stanley begins to realise that the camp's warden (Weaver) has an ulterior motive for making the inmates dig in the sand. Far from trying to punish or rehabilitate these young hoodlums, The Warden is searching for something that has been hidden in the desert for decades - a treasure that has more to do with Stanley's convoluted history than he realises.

Quirkily offbeat, this decidedly unusual children's tale is in stark contrast with most saccharine kiddie flicks. Indeed, it's so quirky you're left wondering how many of the target 8 to 13-year-old audience are likely to give it a whirl instead of moving onto something more obviously orientated towards their tastes.

It's difficult to imagine how many pre-teens will be willing to put up with the script's overly-complicated flashback structure and meandering pace. While adults will doubtlessly enjoy the hammy turns from Jon Voight, Sigourney Weaver and Henry 'The Fonz' Winkler, such incidental details are likely to leave children rather nonplussed. A shame since this is actually a cut above most of the pap that masquerades as children's movies.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Jon Voight, Henry Winkler, Byron Cotton, Sigourney Weaver, Shia LaBeouf, Khleo Thomas
  • Director: Andrew Davis
  • Screen Writer: Louis Sachar
  • Producer: Andrew Davis, Mike Medavoy, Lowell D Blank, Teresa Tucker-Davies
  • Photographer: Stephen St John
  • Composer: Joel McNeely

In a nutshell

Too offbeat for its own good, this adaptation of Louis Sachar's novel is marred by an overly complicated plot that's likely to leave children more confused than content.

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4


    Katell Quillévéré's family-based drama follows Suzanne, a teenage mother who falls for a gangster

  • Film4

    The Purge

    Ethan Hawke stars in James DeMonaco's drama about a sanctioned night where all crime is legal

  • Film4

    Me and You on Film4

    Premiere of Bernardo Bertoluccis drama about a boy and his half-sister who run away together.

  • Film4

    Philadelphia on Film4

    Denzel Washington and Oscar-winning Tom Hanks star in Jonathan Demme's powerful drama.

  • Channel 4 Blog

    BIFA brings 2015 nominated films to cinemas

    BIFA-nominated films including the Film4-backed 45 Years, The Lobster, Macbeth, Amy and Ex Machina will be available in cinemas nationwide from 23 November in a special public screenings event. The

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Film4-backed films receive 41 nominations at the BIFAs

    Film4 has received a total of 41 nominations for the films it has backed at this year¿s British Independent Film Awards (BIFAs), with the nomination lists for the Best British Film and Best Director a

Register with

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register