Almost sounding like an exclamation in itself, Holy Motors could not be more aptly named as it sits on a celestial, trippy and cleverly calculated plane of cinematic wonder. Love it or hate it, Holy Motors will be a film that audience goers will remember, and more likely than not, it will be a “love it” reaction. To label it a future cult classic doesn’t do it justice as Holy Motors carves its own unique cinematic path and succeeds in its wacky ways when so much of this risky movie may not have worked.
Following Monsieur Oscar, brilliant played in all his facets by Denis Lavant, the film goes from dawn till dusk and following the rapidly alternating lives of Oscar as he becomes a beggar, a mad man, a father, a killer, and many more. But who is watching? Who is he performing for? Who else is performing? Is he even performing? Like any great film, some of the films greatest joys for audiences will be revealed in the foyer of the cinema as everyone will surely have their own take on what they just saw.
For all its insanity, from Oscar biting off a woman’s finger, to engaging in CGI sex scene and the list goes on, it is a testament to Leos Carax that he could be solely responsible for the writing and direction of the film without letting it collapse in on itself. Whilst answers won’t come easy to audience to exactly what they are witnessing, each “character” Monsieur Oscar inhabits becomes a self-contained vignette in itself. Amongst it all other strange characters come and go, most notably Eva Mendes who is silent and seductive, and Kylie Minogue playing Eva, another mysterious figure whose identity changes by the hour. There’s even a wink earlier in the film that might suggest that pop star Kylie is just one of Eva’s many personas.
Dream logic applies in Holy Motors. It makes sense without ever being able to explain it to a third party. Each chapter is moving, funny, chilling, romantic, bold or all of the former together in one. The one constant is Denis Lavant whose chameleon performance is truly gripping. The only other constant, his limo driver Celine, Edith Scob, is another fascinating character as she transports him from one dimension of being to the next.
Any expectations of the film will be forcibly left at the door for cinema goers, but its poetic nature and thought provoking style will prove gripping for most. Never before has being so confused felt so enjoyable.
Holy Motors is released in Australia on August 23rd
Director: Leos Carax
Cast: Denis Lavant, Edith Scob, Eva Mendes, Kylie Minogue