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Date TimeJuly 31, 2019
VoiceSex, violence and alpha-male malice collide with sickening consequences in Isabella Eklöf’s unflinching directorial debut
Holiday review – an unlovely sojourn around the twisted male psyche
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/boyfriend: a kind of Stockholm-Vichy syndrome. He has invited her, with the rest of his sycophantic entourage, on a grisly “holiday” at one of the luxury villas 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.

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