Lost Holiday

Get off my lawn. Fidelity to journalistic style requires I summarize before I launch into details, so that’s it. Lost Holiday, directed by Michael Kerry Matthews and his brother Thomas Matthews, is a millennial mess with an admittedly solid core of story that shows potential, but sinks under the weight of the “whatever.”

College friends Margaret (Kate Lyn Sheil) and Henry (Thomas Matthews, also one half of the writer/director team) are adults still busily misspending their youth on Christmas vacation in Washington, D.C. They’ve come in from New York to get their old D.C. band of miscreants back together. Margaret is in love with Mark (William Jackson Harper), who is engaged to someone else at this point. Henry and Margaret throw themselves into partying with cynical glee when their friend Sam takes them to the home of a sketchy Russian drug dealer (known only as The Russian and played by an understated Tone Tank) and his overly cheerful friend Matthews (Isiah Whitlock, Jr).

“…adults still busily misspending their youth on Christmas vacation in Washington, D.C.”

At the drug dealer’s place, “The Russian” wants to impress Margaret and shows her a video of himself having sex with Amber Jones, a well known D.C. debutante.   

The next morning over hangover coffee Henry and Margaret see a news report that Amber is missing and has been kidnapped. They debate calling the police but decide instead to find her themselves. What follows is them carelessly crashing around D.C. with no finesse or caution, flirting with death as they investigate “The Russian” and the thugs at a local recording studio.

Nihilism is the guiding (non-)principle… it is so uncool to care about anything. However, nihilism turns out to be a carefully cultivated veneer of ennui that transforms to shrieking narcissism the moment a gun is pointed at one’s favorite head. They move from clue to clue in their fuzzy scavenger hunt, still shaking off the booze and drugs from the night before.

The B plot with Margaret and Mark contributes nothing to the kidnapping story, and could have easily been cut.

Call this “Film meh” instead of Film Noir. The only way it could be more pretentious is if it was in black and white. These characters are so unlikeable, you may find yourself hoping Margaret and Henry both get the shit kicked out of them for their arrogance and stupidity.  

Add one to the rating if you were born after 1982 (add two if you were born after ’92.) 

Lost Holiday (2019) Written and directed by Michael Kerry Matthews, Thomas Matthews. Starring  Kate Lyn Sheil, Thomas Matthews, Jay Bulger, David Corn, Janna Emig. Lost Holiday screened at the 2019 Slamdance Film Festival.

6 out of 10

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