Holy Motors Blu-ray Review
(Long pause) I really have no idea how to review HOLY MOTORS. To just say it is weird, random and non-sequitur would be a disservice. Don’t get me wrong, all those descriptive adjectives are absolutely true. But the film is also organized within its strangeness, which I realize is bordering on an oxymoron – structured randomness. Perhaps, I’ll simply explain HOLY MOTORS as a dazzling picture that will have you scratching your head in sick wonderment whether it be admiration or disgust.
A man wakes up in bed and finds a secret door in his bedroom that is unlocked with a special key that is growing out of his middle finger. The door opens up to a balcony overlooking a movie theater where the audience is frozen in a comatose-like state staring at the screen. A child walks down the aisle followed by a large dog.
The rest of the film follows Oscar (Denis Levant), a man in a limo running several different appointments throughout the day. Oh but these aren’t typical boring business appointments. These are strange theatrical appointments that Oscar prepares for inside his limo/dressing room and are only halfway revealed to the audience as they unfold at each stop. First, Oscar steps out as a hunchbacked decrepit old woman begging for money. Second, a highly trained martial artist performing for computer graphics and green screen. Third, an odd elvish troll-like character that eats plants and kidnaps a female model played by Eva Mendes. From there he transforms into a variety of characters from stories involving murder, musicals, fatherly affection and many more zany genres. Heck, we even get to see Oscar perform an energized instrumental intermission half way through the very film we are watching in which his character seems to be performing.
I would love to ask director Leos Carax his specific motives behind each scene to grasp a better understanding. Do the characters know each other? Are they all performing or are any of the relationships real? Is he just messing with the audience? It feels a bit too deliberate and passion fueled for that. No, I perceive a commentary on society’s obsession to be entertained mixing reality television through a TRUMAN SHOW like quality with a film purist using acting, costume, makeup, special effects and whatever other technical qualities that brings movie magic alive. I find this to be a fascinating concept, however HOLY MOTORS presents the material in such an unnecessarily abstract and mysterious way, it’s almost offensive.
I appreciate when interpretation is left to the audience, which I thought my favorite film from 2011 in Terrence Malick’s THE TREE OF LIFE did beautifully, but HOLY MOTORS reflects meaningless substance. The director has talent and passion behind his conceptual ideas but his personal achievement doesn’t quite converse to the audience as if we are sitting on the outside of an inside joke.
I would venture to say if you are a huge David Lynch fan then perhaps HOLY MOTORS will strike a bizarrely appreciative nerve for you. I think film enthusiasts should definitely give it a shot because either way you will have a great time loving or hating what you see on screen. If nothing else, the lead performance from Denis Levant is worthy of the award that shares his character’s name.
HOLY MOTORS doesn’t have a direct narrative, the scenes are off-the wall bonkers and there is an extremely graphic image of the male anatomy. So there really isn’t any reason why one should see this film or why I can’t in good conscience recommend it to the masses (you hear that mom?). However, with that said, I strangely enjoyed watching the weirdness unfold and attempting to solve the murky poorly constructed puzzle setup from the opening scene. Much like our dreams, the story is hard to follow but is still a thrilling ride. Clearly, I’m struggling with my feelings toward this film. I appreciate the ambitious originality, but a human/monkey family and talking cars are hardly a call to brilliance.
Video: (1080p 1.85:1) A great looking picture enlisting a variety of looks through different environments.
Audio: (French: Dolby Digital 5.1) The dialogue is clean and mixed well.
“Drive-In”: Making of Holy Motors (47:28): If you were hoping this would shed some light on what was going on in the film, think again. This is done as abstractly artful or absurd (depending on your viewpoint) as the film. Several interviews that were somewhat interesting but the long takes of many of the scenes are terribly boring.
Kylie Minogue Interview (13:22): Minogue truthfully reveals that she wasn’t familiar with Carax or completely understood the film. However, she thought it was amazingly beautiful and was terribly excited about the work.
Domestic Trailer (2:32)
International Trailer (1:51)