Holiday (2019)


A love triangle featuring the trophy girlfriend of a petty drug lord, caught up in a web of luxury and violence in a modern dark gangster tale set in the beautiful port city of Bodrum on the Turkish Riviera.

Set in the idyllic spot of Bodrum on the Turkish coast, ‘Holiday’ is a film about Sascha (Victoria Carmen Sonne), a young woman who goes on vacation with her older drug dealing boyfriend Michael (Lai Yde) and his friends. It’s the debut feature from Isabella Eklöf, who was one of the screenwriters on the unique ‘Border’, a fascinating Swedish film from earlier this year, and it’s a provocative piece of work that has stayed with me after watching it.

Sascha is an interesting character for Eklöf’s film to focus on, acting as a viewpoint into the ecosystem of Michael’s drug dealing friends and acquaintances and their lifestyle whilst also painting a picture of a young woman who doesn’t really fit in. For much of the film, not a great deal happens and we’re essentially just hanging out with these characters (none of whom are particularly likeable, Sascha included), until it starts to take a darker turn as we head into the final third which ties the film’s themes together. This isn’t a plot heavy film by any stretch, but the main point of conflict arises when Michael discovers that Sascha’s been spending time with another male tourist who she bumped into in an ice cream shop, and a strange kind of power play begins between these three characters.

It’s worth a word of warning that the film features one of the most explicit (and likely unsimulated) sexual scenes I’ve seen in any film and there was a collective gasp in the cinema at the time, but the scene does serve a purpose in furthering our understanding of Michael and Sascha’s characters. I thought Sonne was excellent in the leading role, portraying Sascha as a materialistic young woman drawn to money and fancy things, without understanding how it’s leading her down an unhappy path. When an alternative path opens up away from Michael and his toxic environment, Sascha is both drawn to it but also torn by the safety of what she knows and is used to and the push and pull between these two options drives the film’s dynamic in the latter stages.

Holiday’ is an engaging and thought provoking film that tackles intriguing themes, and it marks an impressive directorial debut from Isabella Eklöf following on from her writing on ‘Border’.

Rating: 4/5

Directed By: Isabella Eklöf

Starring: Victoria Carmen Sonne, Lai Yde, Thijs Romer, Michiel de Jong and Adam Ild Rohweder

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