Holy Motors Review

Holy Motors (Not Rated, 115 minutes)


A movie that was assigned to me after losing a bet: Holy Motors is the type of film that professors love, but students feel ambivalent towards. Yes, a film like this is easy to write about because the product is open to endless interpretations, however, at certain points Holy Motors could be unbearable. While it is impossible to give a clear-cut synopsis of the film, the basic narrative is a man inhabits nine different roles in a twenty-four hour period. Why or how this is done is up to the audience to decipher; nonetheless, Mr. Oscar (Denis Lavant) is driven to each ‘appointment,’ where he inhabits a different individual.

There are plenty of elements that work in this film; for instance, the movie has a vibrant color palate that aids the zaniness. This film knows how to be beautiful yet downright disgusting at the same time, which is quite unsettling. For instance, the ‘motion capture’ scene is visually breathtaking and moves like a choreographed dance: but soon becomes visually haunting. This scene works because of the emotion it gets out of the viewer; however, not all of the ‘appointments’ work on this level. Out of the nine ‘performances,’ I enjoyed less than half. But I cannot sell this film short; yes, at times I was praying for this film to end, but when the film stimulated me I was utterly engaged. And this engagement is mostly due to the masterful direction (Leos Carax) and Denis Lavant who basically inhabits ten different roles.

But at the same time, this feels like pretentious filmmaking at its finest. As the movie progresses it becomes inexplicably crazier: to the point where I wanted to pull my hair out. The film-connoisseur in me wants to visit this film again; so I can peel back the layers of the film. However, my frustration with the overall film prevents it from feeling like the classic that critics have hailed.



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