- Director: Leos Carax
- Genre: Drama
- Cert: 16
- Details: France/Germany 115 mins
These kind of movies get my goat and my goat was got a lot during these two tedious hours. Made by and for a certain clientele, the Palme d'Or-nominated Holy Motors is the worst kind of art film: art for art's sake.
A portmanteau, the nine shorts compose of strange goings on. An old crippled woman begs for money and love on a Parisian bridge; an actor goes through some stunts for a computer game; a lunatic leprechaun type escapes the tunnels to create a scene at a fashion shoot starring Eva Mendes; a man runs into former lover Kylie Minogue and they have a song-and-dance in a disused hotel. Linking the shorts together is Denis Lavant, who plays the lead in each segment. Lavant leaves his heavily guarded house and enters a stretch limo driven by his long-term assistant Celine (Scob). Celine presents him with a dossier of the day: he has nine 'appointments' to complete in twenty-four hours.
We're supposed to marvel at the bizarre nature of it all. Celebrate the nonsensical stories. Get caught up in the wackiness. We're supposed to gather afterwards in foyer and stroke our chins and discuss what it all means. Cinephiles will delight in the obscure references (French New Wave nods are hard to miss) and homages that crop up everywhere but you can go ahead and not care. In a film that's devoid of heart, this will be easy. Leos Carax, making his first film since 1999's Pola X, carries on like a smug first year art student with a budget, allowed to indulge his every whim.
Lavant is nothing but energetic and committed. Jumping back into the limo (or helped back in depending on what went down in the last segment), Lavant has to tear off the previous outing's make up in a reverse Welles/Falstaff transformation and prepare himself for the next 'job'. He can be fun and bouncy and in the segments that hint at a story – he drives his daughter home from a party, dancing with Kylie in that hotel – he can be warm but for the most part he's as cold and distant as the film as a whole.
Holy Motors has been described as a prayer for the death of cinema. Well, if it's a prayer for the death of this kind of cinema, I'm on my knees already, hands clasped.
Review by Gavin Burke | 13:54 | Friday 28th September 2012 | Movie Review
Yeah, I would agree about Holy Motors being a prayer for the death of cinema. I saw a preview of it earlier in the week. I have a no-walkout policy on films, but I very nearly walked out of this one. It's swiftly overtaken The Devil Inside as the worst film I've seen this year. I love surreal, oddball films, but this one really takes the biscuit.Posted 16:44 | Sat 22nd Sep 2012
I can't stand films like this BUT as this has been getting such wildly mixed reviews (5 stars in Empire no less) I've decided to take a chance and am going to the 16:10 show today at the IFI. As a sweetener, I'm going to see What Richard Did afterwards so at least I'll have something to look forward to if this is the disaster I'm expecting.Posted 12:57 | Fri 5th Oct 2012
......God that was s**te !Posted 19:45 | Sat 6th Oct 2012
Only went cause I had enough points for a free ticket at IFI. Have to say not as bad as I feared. Wasn't tempted to walk out and as Paris one of our favourite cities, enjoyed the scenes of the city. Don't think I'd rush to recommend it but sort of glad I went.Posted 16:28 | Sun 7th Oct 2012
I think this movie is doing great things, it's split critics and tempting audiences to see what the big deal is. People will hate, love or be indifferent but I bet most will talk about it. Gavin talks about the Cinephiles stroking chins in the foyer, so what... Other wills say its arty w**k and give out about it, and that's great too. It's stirs its audience one way or the other and getting good attendance - for an art house film, judging from the night i went.Posted 10:39 | Sat 13th Oct 2012
I thoroughly enjoyed it; I don't know so much that's it's an elegy for cinema per se, but for an increasingly obvious lack of emotive immediacy concerning art in general. I'm surprised no one has mentioned the homages to Eyes Without a Face.Posted 20:53 | Wed 17th Oct 2012
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