ABC Film Challenge – 00s Movies – H – The Hole (2001) Movie Review


The Hole – Overly Complicated View on the Upper Class

Director: Nick Hamm

Writer: Ben Court, Caroline Ip (Screenplay) Guy Burt (Novel)

Starring: Thora Birch, Desmond Harrington, Daniel Brocklebank, Laurence Fox, Kiera Knightley, Embeth Davidtz

Plot: Four teenagers at a British private school secretly uncover and explore the depths of a sealed underground hole created decades ago as a possible bomb shelter.

Tagline – An exclusive invitation. An excuse to party. But deep in the darkness lie their worst fears. The truth will be buried unless they survive…the hole.

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Hole starts when Liz (Birch) has escaped after being missing with three other boarding school friends Mike (Harrington), Geoff (Fox) and Frankie (Knightley). Liz is recounting the events to Dr Philippa Horwood (Davidtz), as we learn she is the outsider at the school, who has a crush on Mike, with her best friend Martin (Brocklebank) arranging for the four to skip a field trip to have a weekend in a bunker on the school grounds.

When nobody returns after the three day arrangement, the four friends are left to try and figure out how to escape, showing the darker side of the natures, while Martin has his own story of the events, leaving everything caught up in the middle of not knowing the truth.

Thoughts on The Hole

Characters & Performances – Liz looks like the lone survivor of a secret three day trip away from the boarding school, she is traumatised about what happened, with her calculated story putting everything on Martin, as her plan was to get closer to her crush Mike, even if she is the outsider of the school in her own eyes, turning to the popular Frankie for help, outside of her story, she is seen as the popular one that planned the whole event, which will keep us guessing to which version of her is the real one. Thora Birch does make this character feel more complex with her performance. Mike is the son of a rock star, which makes him the heartthrob of the school, most of the girls have changed their image for a chance with him, with Liz setting her sights on him. Desmond Harrington does play into the bad boy image this character requires well through the film. Frankie is the popular girl at the school, she clicks her fingers and makes things happen, she is mixed in her position through different stories, one showing her the all powerful user, the other showing her to be the best friend. Keira Knightley does everything well in this role, even if she was too young to be doing some of the things her character goes through.

StoryThe Hole follows four friends that look to have a party away from the boarding school, which ends up going terribly wrong when only one survivor the events of extended time in the bunker. This is a story that jumps between stories, without making any as clear as they need to, we have the victim story, the set-up story, the twisted truth and the reality of the events, each one changes our perspectives of the characters involved through the film. This is the design I get, but seeing these what are meant to be around 15-year-olds acting like this, doesn’t come off as believable as it wants too and shows us just how terrible the upper class can be.

ThemesThe Hole uses the idea of extended isolation to turn the story on its head, showing us just how far someone will go to get what they want, showing us just how desperate to fit in and standout some can get. We know from the opening one survives, which only leads to us going through different stories, to pick up little hints of what really happened, nobody seems to be lying, just spinning the truth. The singular location does make things very interesting to se unfold through the film too, though we could have had a little bit more exploring, as it is heavily hinted this is just an escape hatch, not the only entrance.

Final Thoughts The Hole is a thriller that does seem to have become dated, with an overly complicated story going on through it.

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