Sometimes, to get along with people you must stoop to their level. Sometimes, that may mean doing things you are not entirely comfortable with. The question is, just how far would you go?
Isabella Eklof’s feature length debut Holiday shines as bright as the Bodrum sun where it is set. Our main protagonist is played with beautiful innocence by Victoria Carmen Sonne (“In The Blood”, “The Elite”) whilst Lai Yde (“Follow The Money (TV)”, “Dicte: Crime Reporter (TV)”) is animalistic against the blue-sky.
It is slow going however, an hour and a half is made to feel like nearly two as Eklof and fellow writer Johanne Algren (“Johanne I Troldeskoven (TV)”), tease us and play with us, lulling us into a sense that we know precisely what is going to happen at the end, before twisting things to ensure we don’t.
The story sees Sascha (Sonne) arrive in Bodrum, alone, wheeling a giant suitcase. She meets a man, an unpleasant exchange is had, before she goes on her way. The next man she meets is Michael (Yde) and straight away she is happy to be seeing him again, back in his arms.
Things are lovely with Michael and his extended “we can do what we want” family. They live in a beautiful villa in the mountains, drink and party all day and night and soak up the sun. Everything is peachy, that is until, it isn’t.
It transpires the family are making their money by rather nefarious means and when one deal goes wrong, the whole mood of this happy little camp turns sour, dark.
Around the same time Sascha meets Thomas, Thijs Romer (“Bella Donna’s”, “Daylight”), and seeks out this friendly face. Naturally Michael doesn’t take kindly to this, showing Thomas who the boss is as soon as he gets the chance, like a Lion warning potential suitors away.
But how far will either of them go to keep the other happy? Can they be happy? What will it take for Sascha to be excepted into this most extreme of families?
There are some dark scenes in the film, some of which will make your stomach turn. For instance, Eklof doesn’t shy away from showing the brutality of a partner raping a partner, nor others seeing it but turning a blind eye.
Holiday is a wonderfully dark film, with the threat that something bad is always going to happen, and sometimes does, but often the threat is felt, or heard, but not seen.
Sonne plays Sascha in a lovely and sweet manner, finding her way, doing as she’s told and loving the luxury rewards she gets when she does. But she believes she’s on equal footing with Michael, and when things aren’t going well, that’s a dangerous belief to have.
Holiday is slow going though, and this is perhaps its major downfall. You need to stick with it, to see the twist at the end as it’s deliciously dark, but it can feel a bit of a slog to get there and I know not everyone will feel it was worth it.
Still, this is an assured and confident writing and feature length directorial debut from Eklof and one that must surely put her on the road to so much more. Let’s just hope she doesn’t wear a scarf.
26th February 2019
THE QUICK SELL
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.