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“John and the Hole” a Creative Psychological Drama

 

 

 

Review by John Delia, Sr.

Quirky and sometimes scary the film John and the Hole tells the tale of one teen at odds with his family. It’s also an eye opener, a caveat of sort that a psychological situation by a misguided youth can turn into an explosive event. Nicely written, directed and played out by a fine cast of characters, the script, while not a true story, works for those who may see something within their own family. Others who like a good drama, will keep them on the edge to the creative finale.

Charlie Shotwell in a scene from JOHN AND THE HOLE from IFC Films

A somewhat autistic teen, 13-year-old John (Charlie Shotwell) feels separated from his classmates, teacher and it even extends to his own family. His angst even goes as far as wanting his adulthood so he could be free from the pressures of the powers to be. His father Brad (Michael C. Hall) and mother Anna (Jennifer Ehle) are unaware of the John’s strong feelings of being distressed and his much older sister Laurie (Taissa Farmi and ga) seems to be getting all the attention at home.

Living in a vast wooded country home with no friends nearby, Brad gives his son a drone to keep him occupied. When the drone goes off course and crashing into a tree John discovers and unfinished bunker. Director Pascual Sisto introduces his characters, their importance and then gets to the point of Nicolas Giacobone’s (Oscar winning writer for the script “Birdman”) psychological drama. Putting John in control of his family and becoming an “adult” he starts to press buttons by victimizing them with starvation and dehydration.

Michael C. Hall, Taissa Farmiga, and Jennifer Ehle in JOHN AND THE HOLE from IFC Films

The acting here by the central cast makes the film work. However Charlie Shotwell’s John is brilliantly cold and calculating stealing the show. His John borders on bipolar dysfunction without fear of consequences for his wrong doing. Putting his family in mortal danger is fun for him. So much so that after he has taken over the house, he drives the family car and invites his best friend over for a swim. He doesn’t overdo his character however, but gives just enough sinister emotion to make the audience believers.

John and the Hole has been rated R by the MPAA for language. There are also a disturbing scene or two. The film has a wide target market and should garner a good following. I found it to be above average for a psychological thriller even though some scenes are a bit unlikely.

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Charlie Shotwell, Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Ehle, Taissa Farmiga
Directed by: Pascual Sisto
Written by: Nicolas Giacobone (Oscar Winner “Birdman”)
Genre: Psychological Drama, Thriller
MPAA Rating: rated R for language.
Running Time: 1 hr. 38 min.
Opening Date: August 6, 2021
Distributed by: IFC FILMS
Released in: Theaters

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