Review: HOLIDAY Is A Weird But Well-Shot Drama

FIRST IMPRESSION

Although Holiday certainly isn't a bad film, it is a tad too weird and meandering to work as well as the filmmakers would have liked.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Writing
Directing
Acting
Technical Merit

Holiday is a new drama directed and co-written by Isabella Eklöf. The film tells the story of a trophy girlfriend of a Danish drug lord as they are on vacation in the Turkish Riviera. It debuted at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival to positive reviews.

This movie’s story is extremely minimalistic. There doesn’t seem to be much of an overall arc in the film, with it instead feeling more like a series of interactions between the characters put together. This wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing, except for the fact that there seems to be very little point to the movie as a whole.

The film would have benefitted from being more focused in thematic terms. There are a few scenes in which it almost seems like a theme is about to enter the story only for it to slip back out almost immediately. The only apparent overarching theme is a feminist one involving the protagonist claiming her own destiny, but even that is inconsistent.

holiday bed
Victoria Carmen Sonneas “Sascha” in “Holiday” by Isabela Eklöf.

The characterization in the movie is relatively weak. There is just too much ambiguity in the characters. There isn’t a lot of sympathy for the characters, but there isn’t a whole lot of hatred towards them either. They simply exist in a middle ground in which they aren’t particularly interesting. The exception is the protagonist’s boyfriend, who is obviously not likable.

The pacing in the film is relatively weak too. There just isn’t enough happening for it to be tightly paced and interesting. There is a lot of intrigue towards the beginning of the movie, especially since it was marketed as a crime thriller, as you are wondering when things are going to escalate. By the time that things do actually escalate, it’s so sudden and short that it has little impact.

holiday pool
Victoria Carmen Sonneas “Sascha” in “Holiday” by Isabela Eklöf.

The best part of the film by far is its ensemble. The actors all do a great job with their performances. The lead actress, Victoria Carmen Sonne, is excellent as the protagonist. She is able to handle the emotional beats of the movie quite well. Her facial expressions really drive the film, as the dialogue seems so meaningless. Lai Yde and Thijs Römer complement her well.

On a technical level, the movie is pretty interesting too. It’s a shame that this film is so beautiful and yet is written in such an uninteresting way. The cinematography is excellent, showcasing the gorgeous scenery of the Turkish seaside. Additionally, there are a few scenes in which the camera is used to highlight the brutality of what is happening.

Overall, Holiday was a weird and confusing movie. It definitely isn’t bad, but there didn’t seem to be much of a meaning to the events that took place on screen.

Holiday is now playing in select theaters and is available on VOD beginning February 26.

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Sean Boelman
Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.

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