Monday, 4 April 2011

Film Review: The Hole (2001)

Gritty is something we British do well. Whether it's Cracker, Shallow Grave or Trainspotting, British productions have typically excelled at showing an unflinching vision of dark tales. Sadly "The Hole" cannot be included in that roster even though it contains all the ingredients for a dark, gritty and challenging British thriller. Teenagers, drink, drugs and a deep dark hole in the ground - what more do you need?

A lot as it turns out. A not so convoluted script for one thing. Rather than see the story once we get three accounts of what happened, resulting in a "been here, seen that" feeling as it rumbles on. Two of these accounts come from the same character of Elizabeth, played by Thora Birch, a teenage girl looking for love from the cool kid in their posh school in the country. She gets her chance when he and his friend join Elizabeth and her friend Frankie (Keira Knightley) in a sleepover with a difference - as they spend a few days in an old disused WWII bunker. But it all goes wrong when the door won't open...
It's a very good concept but the film fails to live up to the initial promise. Trying to tell the story in an interesting way through flashbacks backfires as the only interesting version is the last one, meaning you have to wait for more than half the film before getting to the good stuff. This is made all the worse by how unlikable all the four characters are. Number one rule; if you lock your audience in with a small amount of people, make sure their characters are at least interesting and a bit amusing. Between whining, shouting and blaming each other you'll be wishing for the whole place to fall down on their heads and end the wittering.

I miss Thora Birch. She was quirky. And so cute in Hocus Pocus.

"The Hole" is not entirely without merit. The story, though told badly, is reasonably interesting and the visuals nearer the end are more in line with what you would expect from a British thriller. Thora Birch's accent is convincing... and... um... you get to see Knightley's boobs. Twice. It was a big selling point of the film when it came out - never a good sign that a film has a decent narrative or characterisation but it likely encouraged some to watch. If you go in with low expectations it's ultimately not a terrible experience. But you will be frustrated, entertained and exasperated in equal measure.

1 comment:

  1. I like to see movie reviews before I watch them. Thanks...