Elevated kiddie flick tackles grown-up issues

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OPENS OCTOBER 24, CERT PG, 117 MINS

The Fugitive director Andrew Davis does a superb job bringing to life Louis Sachar’s wry, sprightly (whisper it) children’s book about the palindromic Stanley Yelnats. Unjustly sent to Camp Greenlake?a remote detention centre for juvenile delinquents in Texas?Stanley literally unearths a mystery with a connection to his family’s past.

Davis neither patronises nor preaches, rising to the fierce moral subtext in Sachar’s novel and tackling an inter-racial love affair with respect for his audiences’ intelligence. He’s helped by a major league cast?Sigourney Weaver as the rattlesnake-tough warden, Jon Voight hilarious as her bequiffed number two, Tim Blake Nelson riffing on his O Brother, Where Art Thou? character, and, in pivotal 19th-century flashbacks, Patricia Arquette and The West Wing’s Dul