Holy Motors isn’t an easy film to summarise, so I’m not even going to try. This brief review will contain no plot synopsis, and instead I’m going to attempt to explain how the film made me feel and what I loved about it. Check out my thoughts after the jump!
If you have seen the film, be sure to check out my further [spoiler] thoughts here!
I went into Holy Motors not knowing much – I knew it caused quite a stir at Cannes, and that Kylie Minogue was in it….yeah. After reading some of the critic’s responses after the screening at Cannes, I immediately watched the trailer. The trailer for this film is incredible and I don’t think it spoils anything – it’s more of a tease. The whole time I was watching the trailer I had my mouth wide open and I was shaking my head thinking “what the hell is going on here”?
Fast-forward to the single screening of the film at the Sydney Film Festival. The film was a late addition to the programme, and I had to give up seeing another film to be able to see it – this was the correct thing to do. Straight out I have to say that this film blew my mind. I’m not sure I have ever seen anything quite so original and so bat-shit crazy. Much like when I was watching the trailer, while watching this film my mouth was agape in surprise and shock, and I was constantly whispering “what the hell” under my breath. I laughed, I gasped, I cringed, I sat in awe and soaked in the amazing art that I was seeing. It’s an adventure, an odyssey, a mysterious journey into alternative lives, parallel realities, and different ways of thinking about existence.
While crazy films are certainly entertaining, they are often badly constructed and poorly executed – it’s almost as if film-makers think you’ll be so distracted by the crazy, that you won’t notice how weak everything else is. This is not the case with Holy Motors – it is a beautifully crafted, and masterfully executed film. The cinematography is simply stunning – some of the long shots were just incredible, and so absorbing. The colours were so vibrant and the attention to detail paid to each an every element was impressive. Each act of the film was quite unique, and they were pieced together seamlessly. The pace was excellent and there was never a lull – even the quieter moments in the film held my complete attention as they too were just as powerful, crazy, and engaging as the more “manic” moments.
Denis Lavant gives what will end up being one of the most talked about and lauded performances of 2012. His raw performance and ability to transform and adapt completely different identities was nothing less than and astounding. There wasn’t one moment when I didn’t believe he was who he was portraying, and I was utterly captivated each and every moment he was on the screen. Supporting performances are also strong across the board, and I was particularly impressed with how captivating Kylie Minogue was.
This is a film that must be seen. Leos Carax has a very unique and strong style of film-making, that is an absolute breath of fresh air among the cookie-cutter blockbusters. This film won’t be for everyone – it is disturbing, hilarious, and confusing all at the same time. If you can clear you mind and give yourself over to the crazy, then you’re in for one hell of a ride. I wish I could watch this film for the first time again.
Director: Leos Carax
Writer(s): Leos Carax
Starring: Denis Levant, Edith Scob, Kylie Minogue, Eva Mendes
Country: France, Germany
Runtime: 115 minutes
Release date(s): Autralia: August 23 2012; New Zealand & USA: No date set.