Holiday – Review

Victoria Carmen Sonne as Sascha in Holiday – Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

Gratuity is something I’ve always struggled with in cinema, if I am to see it, it must serve a purpose. Holiday is a film that most certainly skirts the edge of gratuity, showing moments that can unquestionably turn ones stomach. I can say however, there is a method to this madness, or rather, a point to all the gratuity.

Holiday it follows the story of a young woman who is in a relationship with a drug lord, as she vacations with his family throughout Turkey.

Initially I thought this film was going to have a story that would follow a victim experiencing the horrible acts of vile individuals, and for the most part I certainly got that, but to my surprise I was delivered something a lot more unsettling and morally disheartening instead. This is a film that essentially explores the concept of a normal person becoming a victim of abuse and then eventually becoming a perpetrator themselves. Holiday asks difficult questions to the audience; where does the line between victim and predator begin and end? This is what is explored in this disturbing and purposefully shocking crime drama.

This film contains scenes that push the boundaries of mainstream cinema; these explicit scenes contain sexual violence and are purposefully intended to place viewers in an uncomfortable position, making the viewer feel helpless and yet wondering why the victim allows themself to be exposed to such abuse as the victim is willingly sticking around.

The film follows the perspective of Sascha (Victoria Carmen Sonne) a dim-witted young girl that seems to be caught up with some nasty people; you can initially see that she is emotionally and psychologically going through her own hell and paradise all at once, it paints a disturbing yet interesting picture for the audience to reflect upon. This theme essentially is the point of the movie, as the plot doesn’t really go places or build toward anything other than the observations the audience can interpret from the ending.

Victoria Carmen Sonne leading performance was convincing and uncomfortably realistic – as this is such an unconventional story to act through it left me indecisive with how I felt about the performances overall, on one hand, the acting made me feel convinced of the pain and suffering she was enduring but on the other hand the lead actress didn’t have much dialogue during the film’s most intense and disturbing moments, well, perhaps it’s better that way.

This film is fairly standard with its shot composition but shines when it comes to the range of colour and lighting environments utilized throughout the film. In terms of cinematography, having a more stoic and stationary style of camerawork felt far more appropriate for the film rather than some ambitious cinematography that held no relevance to the tone of it all.

This is not a film I enjoyed experiencing, but that’s not to say it didn’t offer teachable themes to take out of it – it certainly had a message, and not a positive one, rather a look at a morbid reality of life. Sometimes people are their own worst enemy despite being a victim at the same time. Ripe with a violent temperament and a dreary tone – Holiday is the most morbid and disturbing vacation movie you can imagine.

6.0/10

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