Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Hole (2001)

Directed by Nick Hamm
Starring Thora Birch, Keira Knightley, Desmond Harrington
Rated R

"I killed him for a fuckin' Coke."

Is  busty pornstar offspring Thora Birch ever going to make a movie where she's not completely miserable? Ever since Ghost World, literally every film she's been in finds her either going crazy, getting stalked by a killer, stalking and killing someone herself, or some awful combination thereof. Those can't be the only roles she's offered - I'm fairly certain that she's on the short list for every script Christina Ricci rejects - so she must be doing this to us on purpose. Please, Thora - I love the squishy face, pumpkin-shaped head, and the heartbreaking rack. And I love how you either sleepwalk through a scene or wildly overact, depending on your mood. I just wish you'd do something light once in a while. Less American Beauty, more American Pie. You know what I mean?

Anyway, this is another one of her misery queen roles. In The Hole (suggestive!) she plays one Liz Dunn, a British prep-school student in some generic posh academy. Liz is in lust with Mike (Desmond Harrington), the school's token American, the son of a wealthy rock star. Sadly, her school is populated mostly by willowy blondes, so Mike doesn't even know Liz exists. Luckily, she has a secret weapon in her seduction scheme - Her best bud Martyn (Daniel Brocklebank, channeling an 80's style tortured/evil geek). Utilizing Marty's considerable computer skills, Liz sets up an improbable scenario and dooms several of her classmates as a result.

Oh, I forgot. Keira Knightley is in this, too. She's Frankie, the queen of the willowy blondes, the bulemic It Girl of Posh Central. She's also sorta Liz's bud. Well, they occasionally swill Jack Daniels and smoke cigarettes together, at any rate.

Mike's also got a friend, too: Geoff (Laurence Fox). He's your typical alpha-male jock. So, the entire school is about to embark on a three-day field trip to Wales. Martyn rigs it so that it appears that Liz, Frankie, Geoff, and Mike weren't given permission by their parents to go, so they'll have to stay behind. That's a good first step, but who's to say Mike's going to hang around? Luckily, Liz and/or Martyn has thought of that, too. Liz talks Frankie into talking Geoff into talking Mike into taking a field trip of their own for the next three days - to an underground World War II bunker in the woods. Well, how could anyone resist something so romantic?

So, that's what they do. They climb down into the underground bunker to party and make-out. You may already be ahead of me, but they soon discover that the escape hatch is locked. They can't get out, there's no phone service in a bunker, nobody but Martyn knows that they're there (and what if he's dead or something?) and they certainly didn't bring enough food and water to last an extended stay down there.

(Very) long story short, Liz emerges from the bunker ten days later, alone. This is not a spoiler, since she pops out of the titular hole, bloody and disheveled, in the very first scene. But what happened to the rest of them? Was this a sinister set-up by the forlorn Martyn, who was clearly in love with the clueless Liz? Did Liz bring this madness on herself? Or is there some other force at work? Through various points-of-view, flash-backs, flash-forwards, police procedurals, and even dream sequences, the whole sordid story starts clicking into place, and the horrors of The Hole are revealed.

To the film's credit, The Hole keeps you guessing to the end. I mean, it's not a complete brain-twister - there's only two possible suspects - but still, you never really know what's up until the finale. However, I'm not sure you'll care all that much, since 90% of the movie is just four bratty rich kids sitting in a hole, fighting over who gets to drink the last soda.

There is one bright spot, however. At one point, Keira wears disco clothes and flashes her boobs. That was pretty sweet.

In another scene, it really looks like Thora might pop out those mammoth melons of hers, but she gets P-blocked by a panicky Geoff at the last moment. Bummer.

Those are the only prurient moments in the movie. The rest is just Thora being sad.

Cheer up, Thora! Sure, your mom was a porn star and Scarlett Johansen is a bazillionaire, even though you were the real star of Ghost World. But I can't keep watching goofy emo-girl junk like this forever. Take some Prozac and make a comedy, already.

- Ken McIntyre 

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like the bad outweighs the good with this one.


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