Log in Register
 
RSS Feed Twitter MySpace Facebook Digg Flickr Delicious YouTube
Holy Motors – Review
UKScreen Rating:

Holy Motors – Review

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

Monsieur Oscar (Denis Lavant) is collected by his chauffeur (Edith Scob) in her limousine at the start of a long night’s work.

On the way to his first appointment, he dons his costume and make-up and an elderly beggar woman climbs out of the limousine, demanding money from passers-by.

He jumps back into the car and removes his disguise on the way to the next gig, which finds him dancing intimately – and increasingly explicitly – with a woman in a motion-capture suit.

As the night progresses, Monsieur Oscar is driven from one appointment to the next – a grumpy father picking up his daughter from a party, a dying man receiving a visit from his great-niece, a low-life who kills someone and then disguises the body to look like him. There’s an encounter with a gamine singer who seems to be a lost love (Kylie Minogue) and most peculiarly, he takes on the guise of a ginger bearded, green-clad, blisteringly-energetic, flower-munching leprechaun, who kidnaps a supermodel (Eva Mendes) during a fashion shoot.

He appears to grow increasingly disconcerted with his lot, until a man who might be his boss (Michel PIccoli) turns up in the limo to set him straight.

The night ends with him being dropped home – or is it home? It’s not where he was first collected and the family he finds there is certainly a little unconventional.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

OK, so it’s clear that section labelled “what’s it about” is quite possibly redundant for a film like this. It’s not about anything really. Well, not anything that can be that clearly defined.

In Leos Carax’s first film for 13 years, he could be studying identity, celebrity, alienation, duty or almost anything else.

It’s a visual symphony, from which you can take almost whatever you like. Is he a performance artist? Or is it something deeper than that? If Michel PIccoli is his boss, who are their clients?

Some of his characters are clearly over the top and staged – others feel like they could be real. Could naming him Oscar be a reference to his award-worthy performance – within the individual roles or the wider film? There are certainly plenty of other film references for true cineastes to pick out – if you can, it might give Holy Motors just a little more grounding. Not much, but a little. All of which makes it feel more like a film-school project or a piece of video-art than any kind of a coherent feature film, which is certainly not anything it’s trying to be.

Whether you find it moving or inpenetrable, Holy Motors is certainly pretentious, if admirable for its bravura. It will make you think – but there might not be an answer, which makes thinking redundant and unrewarding.

Since it premiered at Cannes – the kind of film festival where such oddities can almost feel at home – it has been collecting five star reviews from some of the world’s most respected critics. But these critics are among – perhaps – the five per cent of the cinemagoing audience who will get the references and who are content to sit back and let cinema wash over them.

But no film that will unquestionably alienate almost the entire audience and confuse the majority of what’s left can be labelled perfect. There is much for open-minded film fans to admire, but most people will be left cold.

A five star for a small number of cineastes and one star for its undoubted chutzpah from the bulk of narrative-seeking regular cinemagoing audiences, the star rating is a mathematical concoction as random as Carax’s vision.

Comments

comments

Tagged with:

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Skip to toolbar