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!
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
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…
Visually vibrant and never ceasing to surprise.
Mental Notes I Took While Watching HOLY MOTORS (Dec. 31, 2012)
Movie theater-hotel room-movie theater. Business man Oscar says goodbye to wife and kids and walks in front of limousine that he is then in. Limo is like Hollywood prop/movie kit that drives around Paris where Oscar is given “assignments”, dresses up and leaves the vehicle. Plays an old begging lady, a motion capture actor for action hero / weird demon-dragon sexual animation, plays (the definitive character in advertising) creepy leprachanish man who navigates the city by sewer and stumbles upon a model photo shoot in a cemetery, thus capturing the photographer’s lens/fancy and he bites the finger off a gal and then kidnaps Eva Mendes (at her will) and…
Rating this movie feels pointless, it defies pretty much every sensibility.
I am not sure what I watched but I enjoyed it. Oscar made his way to appointment after appointment and morphed into strange characters. Were all the others also at their appointments too? Great performance by Oscar.
An incredible, incredible film that defies logic, understanding, and convention. It is also incredibly human, including all of humanity's vices, virtues, grotesque faults and painful truths. It is also visually masterful. Absolutely not to be missed.
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.
- 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