From Guy Lodge’s 1.30.18 Variety review: “The water’s warm and inviting, and that goes for precisely nothing else in Holiday, a low-temperature, high-impact debut from Swedish-born writer-director Isabella Eklöf that impresses with its clinical construction and still, penetrating gaze into male violence.
“Scratch past its smooth, sun-whitened surface, however, and messy questions lie at the nominal heart of this glassy, nasty study of a Danish gangster’s moll caught between the material rewards of her position and the abusive price she pays for it.
“It’s up for vigorous debate whether Holiday‘s most shocking material offers substantive commentary on the toxic behavior it portrays, or simply eye-searing observation thereof; a steady female gaze behind the camera tilts the film’s politics in unexpected, deliberately discomfiting ways.
“The club of contemporary cinematic provocateurs to whose brand of formalism Holiday is likeliest to prompt comparisons — Ulrich Seidl, Michael Haneke, even Gaspar Noé — is an awfully male-dominated one, and one senses that hegemony is not far from Eklöf’s mind in her gutsy first feature. Perhaps not since Julia Leigh’s undervalued Sleeping Beauty has a distaff auteur film so brazenly tested the limits of how women’s bodies may be used and abused on screen, muddling empathy with exploitation in one pristinely composed shot after another.”