Owen Hughes’s review published on Letterboxd:
From the reception it received at Cannes, to reading subsequent reviews on Letterboxd and elsewhere, I was really looking forward to Holy Motors. It was showing at my local arts cinema for 3 days only, which I only found out about on the third day, at which point I had already booked myself in to see a different film elsewhere. I was gutted. I had to wait a little while to be able to rent it, but once I saw it on Blinkbox.com's 99p Monday deals, I couldn't believe my luck.
My expectations weren't really set so high that I thought the film would be absolutely incredible, unimaginably spectacular, a life-changing experience and would make all other films look relatively simplistic and dull. But, I was aware of how utterly batshit mental it was, so even if it wasn't a brilliant film, at least it would be interesting.
I guess that's where my first problem was. I liked parts of the film; Denis Lavant's performance was superb, for example. Every little thing he did was undeniably excellent. Why then did I occasionally find a film that was as varied (both in terms of narratively and thematically) as this quite so dull at times? Certain points seemed to be excruciatingly dragged out for much longer than necessary. I found it rather boring which in turn made me quite disappointed with the film overall.
I don't mind that there was no particular journey that any character went on. It's not that kind of film, it's not what I thought would happen, and so to apply such a structure to the film would be to not understand what it was doing. But it really did come across as being weird for weird's sake at times (as a friend of mine succinctly put it.)
But, that said, the bits I did like I thought were done exceptionally well. There's a lot of very dark humour to be found here, as well as some quite unnerving and terrifying ideas. For one film to have such a range of concepts, it's probably unfair to expect them all to be fantastic. I'll just have to try to remember only the good bits when talking about this film to people from now on.