Holiday review – an unlovely sojourn around the twisted male psyche

the Guardian | 7/31/2019 | Peter Bradshaw


Last year, the Danish film-maker Isabella Eklöf made a fierce impression on international audiences with the body-horror romance Border, the movie she had co-written, full of transgression, freakiness and loopiness. Now UK audiences can see her directorial debut Holiday (co-scripted by her with Johanne Algren), an icily accomplished drama about sexual violence, toxic masculinity and toxic femininity, in a pretty familiar Euro-hardcore style not dissimilar to the manner of shock veterans such as Ulrich Seidl or Gaspar Noé.

It’s about a damaged and dysfunctional young woman gradually becoming complicit in the abusive relationship she is having with her middle-aged gangster employer: a kind of Stockholm-Vichy syndrome. He has invited her, with the rest of his sycophantic entourage, on a grisly “holiday” at the luxury apartment complex he has built in the Turkish resort of Bodrum, a business intended to mask his income from the drugs trade. With the glittering waters of the ocean and the Hockney blue of the infinity pools around which young women are expected to dance decorative attendance on fatter, older, paranoid guys, this is a world that can only be called Hate Island.

Victoria - Carmen - Sonne - Convincing - Performance

Victoria Carmen Sonne gives a horribly convincing and mesmerically uncomfortable performance as Sascha, a young woman in skimpy swimwear who is the trophy girlfriend and abuse victim of Michael (Lai Yde), a gang boss who presides over a cringing court of mob lieutenants and their various mums and kids. Sonne brilliantly shows Sascha’s creepy, childlike narcissism, gazing at her reflection in changing room mirrors in a celebratory stupor. She zooms about the place on a motor-scooter, wearing a floating, trailing, Isadora Duncan-type scarf. A local tries to warn her about the danger of this accessory but Sascha won’t listen. Her cherubically blank face is imbued with a scary kind of knowingness that doesn’t really know...
(Excerpt) Read more at: the Guardian
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