Directed by Leos Carax
If The Master was Ulysses, then Holy Motors is certainly Finnegans Wake. So the question is: should I even bother with a –half-reasonable, well-balanced review of this thing, or would it be enough if I just exclaimed Christ what a film!?.
But – just for the hell of it, why not give it a random, erratic shot?..
Well, the first and most important thing I’m going to say about Holy Motors is that you don’t need anything from cinema that you won’t get from this film. There’s a lengthy and diverse (and quite possibly endless) list of epithets I could include in this review, but let’s just say that the film contains talking cars, a man living with a monkey, people dying and waking up, a tramp munching flowers, a full-blown erection, Eva Mendes singing a lullaby in a cave and many more things in that vein (what vein?). The hilarious, over-the-top accordion scene in the church is in fact one of the most breathtaking things I saw in the whole of 2012.
Just don’t think it is all edgy for the sake of being edgy. Yes, Holy Motors is mad fun where a bizarre, brutal murder is followed by Kylie Minogue singing a rather conventional, musical-styled ballad. But it is gripping, seductive stuff that is a lot more cohesive than it sounds. There really is a strange sense of purpose running through the disjointed mess that is this film’s plot.
Speaking of which, how do you describe it without sounding completely insane? You get a man traveling through Paris in a limousine and doing rather odd things: at some point he dresses as an old beggar woman asking for alms, at some point he puts on latex clothing and engages in an erotic dance, at some point he becomes his own murderer. However, at no point do you wish to look away or abandon the experience altogether. Inexplicable though it is, you are genuinely intrigued. There are some answers waiting for you at the end, but – really, like best Lynch (think a more tight Inland Empire, though that is a very loose comparison), it makes sense on a purely intuitive level. But sense it does make.
I’d advise to watch this one with an open mind and get lost in its lush, maddening textures. Don’t bother with ideas or explanations. Treat it as some juicy, exotic fruit with strange, narcotic powers. Hell, just sit back and enjoy the cinematic experience. Holy Motors is a film lover’s wet dream.