Holy Motors

Holy Motors ★★★★½

Leos Carax’ Holy Motors is like nothing you’ve ever seen in cinema. It’s cerebral, fanciful, playful, and ambitious in high standards. It follows a mysterious man (possibly an actor) who dresses up in costumes and plays several strange scenarios while being driven in a majestic limousine around Paris. In those short but potent vignettes, Carax unleashed his mastery of each genre: from deadpan comedy to motion capture, and even musical. Anchoring this wild imaginative spectacle from Carax is no other than Denis Lavant who fearlessly commits and convinces in every single character that he’s playing.

Holy Motors can also be played as Carax’ love letter to the cinema and to the performance. It’s not just about the idea of the stories that are being played, but also about bodies of actors that facilitate those ideas into life. Those cinematic performances actively mirrors the truth of life and the truth of our basic and complex emotions. Watching Holy Motors feels manipulative both visually and emotionally, but it’s its purpose. It’s an homage to those cinematic sensibilities that we all grew up loving.

Denis Lavant is an intriguing presence on screen. This film made me want to watch other films that he’s in. He’s an effortless charmer and have an incredible command on camera. The underrated Edith Scob makes an indelible supporting turn as well. Her seemingly small role as the limousine driver turns into an enigma that grows on you after the film. Eva Mendes and Kylie Minogue also gave committed turns that is both outrageous and brilliant.

Overall, Holy Motors is one wild, enjoyable ride to watch. I would say that it’s not a film that will be favorable with others. But its unique sensibility and execution is what makes this film a true achievement.

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