Film Review: HOLY MOTORS

Written and Directed by Leos Carax
Starring Denis Kavant, Edity Scob, Eva Mendes, Kylie Minogue

I mistakenly assumed last spring when I watched COSMOPOLIS, based on the Don Delilo book and directed by David Cronenberg, that it would be a very long time before another movie, dealing with a limousine ride across the city, would show up at the theater. French filmmaker, Leos Carax, proved me wrong with HOLY MOTORS. Even more surreal than COSMOPOLIS, this film takes place in an even stranger universe with even fewer sign posts to direct us. This is the sort of film you will have strong feelings about, I think. Pretentious would be the word most people would fling at it. But liberating might be mine. Not that those feelings, either way, will help you to decode it. It is truly enigmatic.

Denis Lavant plays our protagonist, Monsieur Oscar, who spends his time in a limousine, driven by Celine (Scob). His day consists of playing various characters at a variety of appointments across Paris. The limousine takes on the same spacious quality of the one in COSMOPOLIS, as he dons various costumes, most of them altering his age or sex or social position. I doubt you are even supposed to figure out the precise nature of these appointments. You just go along for the ride, admiring (or detesting) the narratives that await you. Many of them deal with death. If you can let go of a need to understand how this all ties together, the movie is lots of fun. If you struggle to make the pieces fit, you will be frustrated. And the ending is the greatest mystery of all. Musical interludes give the puzzled viewer a break. I loved it; my husband hated it. There you go.

Patti Abbott