Recently, I've become aware that certain films are able to transcend the medium by being completely self-assured in their atmospheres…
We follow 24 hours in the life of a being moving from life to life like a cold and solitary assassin moving from hit to hit. In each of these interwoven lives, the being possesses an entirely distinct identity: sometimes a man, sometimes a woman, sometimes youthful, sometimes old. By turns murderer, beggar, company chairman, monstrous creature, worker, family man.
Holy Motors, the critics darling of 2012, is as strange, befuddling and pretentious as the gushing reviews suggested it would be. Leos Carax’ first feature film in over a decade is a willfully odd odyssey; a picaresque story of cinema itself and an ode to performance. The committed, certifiable and chameleon-like Denis Lavant plays Mr. Oscar, a man who travels around Paris in a limousine transforming himself into a range of strikingly different characters for reasons left largely up to the audience to decide.
It is a film made for, and by, a particular type of film fan; one steeped in the history of film who enjoys partaking in a game of spot the movie reference. It’s an indulgent, self-satisfied…
To say that Holy Motors has been praised would be the understatement of the century. It has been discussed and interpreted more than probably any other movie this year. Furthermore, seemingly every major critic loves it. It has a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, an 84 on Metacritic, and my boy Film Crit Hulk placed it at the very top of his 2012 list, ahead of Django Unchained, The Master, Looper, and several other terrific titles. However, there's something none of those critics will tell you, and I'm here to give it to you straight: the key to understanding Holy Motors is knowing that Holy Motors SUCKS.
Now, before you prejudge this as another Cosmopolis-style "Dear Fuckers" letter, hear me out,…
Q1. Was this art over substance?
Q2. Was there a point?
Q3. What genre is it?
Q4. Did I like it?
Q5. Did I hate it?
A1-5. I honestly don't fucking know!
Thesis - The movie is an ode to the human body as the most cinematic of objects.
1. The old video that starts the film.
2. The scene trumpeting the humans performing mo cap over the final product itself.
3. An array of physically showy performances - ogre, beggar, killer, musician, singer, grumpy father.
The "Holy Motors" of the title and conclusion, then, is a metaphor for the engine that makes cinema hum - the human body. Carax asks that in our rush to the next cinematic object, we not fall out of love with the original cinematic object.
This almost feels like a surreal version of the Mediaeval play Everyman. In that play Everyman (representing Man) meets up with a host of allegorical characters representing Life. Through these encounters Everyman learns how to reach salvation, thus completing Life's circle.
If I proceed in this train if thought, Lavant's Oscar is all those allegorical characters rolled up into one creature, a physical manifestation of life, showing us, the Everyman, the state of affairs. And apparently Life is getting old. It is having great difficulty dealing with the rapid, shallow progress we are making and basically has increasing difficulty providing us with our overly demanding urges. Life's own cycle seems to be running towards its end, heading towards its own…
I don't know.
I enjoy movies, but I'm not sold on meta-movies. This film has so many layers of meta- that I got smothered somewhere in the middle. Sure, it's clever, and the craft, both before and behind the camera, is exquisite in any given scene, but I cannot see that it holds together. Frankly, I haven't the patience to puzzle it out. I'm not convinced there is, finally, anything to puzzle out. Its disjointedness, the way it keeps pulling the rug out from under itself, subverts any emotional momentum it might otherwise have had; at some point I just stopped caring.
To someone really, really in love with movies I can see that this film would, or could, possibly, be experienced as a kind of cat-nip. Evidently I am not such a someone.
Not a film I will watch again.
i can't believe it took me so long to see this movie, especially since it's a god damn masterpiece and leos carax's TRIUMPHANT return to the big screen. denis lavant is sublime, and the film references are ABOUND in this movie about movies about movies. loved the nod to oshima's max mon amour near the end!
Holy Motors was a film I could not quite grasp completely and yet I loved it so. It offered enough at the surface that I could follow the film without falling into an abyss of pretentiousness but created enough intrigue and symbolism that I was filled with a sense of questioning and wonder. It was surreal and could be viewed with nothing but an open mind that freely accepts each world as it's presented.
Once again, watching COSMOPOLIS made me need to go to the other "white stretch limo" film of last year, so here I am again with my beloved HOLY MOTORS.
Though a hair less beloved - I just knocked a half-star off my rating after this viewing. Still love this, but the slowness of certain episodes put me a bit off this time -- I am not one to mind episodic structure in narrative art, and it's not like there's a major drop in quality between episodes, just that the herky-jerkiness of the pace didn't work for me this time. But the episodes that knock me dead (or make me cry from beauty or loss) still do, and it's an amazing…
This movie is so messed up, weird and nonsensical that I simply could not get into it. It's a series of strange episodes linked only by a single character. There is some momentum in the first chunk of the movie, but the last half hour or more just draaaaagged.
Not at all what I expected.
Just a waste of my time. Yawn.
Who ever said playing dress-up isn't fun?
HOLY MOTORS isn't the movie Leos Carax wanted to make. His last feature from '99, he wanted to come back with a big English-language masterstroke. Making an arty, jigsaw-puzzle-easy film in French wasn't it. But the concept of stretch limousines being old and outdated toys (the visible machines), and a collaboration with actor Denis Lavant (who played so well for him in TOKYO!), made Carax reconsider. And it's lucky for us he did, since HOLY MOTORS is great. It seems like a series of arbitrary and senseless provocations, but these are actually fresh and hilarious slices of weird, macabre, mind-bending craziness.
We start with a fleeting movie theater frame narrative. Then to the outside of some upper-crust house… Oscar (Lavant),…
- Only God Forgives
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
- Spring Breakers
- A Field in England
- The Cremaster Cycle
- Sweet Movie
- The Holy Mountain
- Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me
ranges from entry-level weird to...Cremaster
not necessarily disturbing, but it helps
- In the Mood for Love
- Children of the Corn
- 28 Weeks Later
- Welcome to the Dollhouse
I FUCKING LOVE COLOURING