Holy Motors

Holy Motors ★★

Holy Motors is Leos Carax’s latest feature film venture which elucidates a day in the life of M. Oscar; a transformable man who lives not only within his own spiritual limits, but exceeds them by acting upon other characters as vessels for his seemingly adaptable personality. As the day proceeds, Oscar transforms himself into a wide array of characters to which he acts out within a time constraint that he recurrently refers to as, ‘appointments’.

To declare Holy Motors as a surrealist drama, (which it is described as such on Netflix) would be to elude the primary theme of pretentiousness and complexity which serves more as frustration rather than a means to connect with the film. The concept is presented in a way which the intentions behind Oscar’s actions are unknown. Of course this isn't beyond the intellectual reach of many, but to have that element as the primary means of interest through the film just didn't hold up. Of course, after reading multiple reviews on Letterboxd from people whom I commonly share similar interests, our opinions vary on this particular subject and taking a disliking to the film seems to be an uncommon practice.

The concept resembles themes of Being John Malkovich, which similarly shares absurdities and complexities which classifies the film as bizarre, while also matching elements from Lanthimos’ Alps without the inclusion of continuous violence and sexual themes, but rather brief moments of such which occur through random intervals.

As others have pointed out, Oscar is a character who embodies so many personalities, yet displays no individualistic emotions of his own, thus not allowing the audience to connect to him as person, or understand his true motivation. Even his morals are unknown, because with each character, he not only envelopes a new variety of emotions, but also a new array of ethics, thus making his own a question within itself; one which isn't a positive element towards the development of the story. The character of Oscar does have an element of mystery to him, but not in any way which continually presents itself as intriguing. An incredibly large amount of the audience’s attention is directed towards the mystery behind Oscar’s actions, which slowly evolves past the level of intrigue, and into the range of pretentiousness. The mystery seemed present only for a means to keep the story going, rather than to hide any true intentions behind the characters actions.

Holy Motors is a mysterious film which displays no hints or elements of backing towards the actions which the characters play out. We are left with questions that seem to have no answers, because they weren't important enough to consider in the first place.

Nathan liked this review