Holy Motors

Holy Motors ★★★★

“I have a plan to go mad.”

What an absurd film. Having seen Vertigo earlier, this definitely felt like a film about films (and tbh the film industry as a whole, I definitely felt an anti-Hollywood vibe) and yet its scope can be broader still. This can be a film about life itself, the different faces we ourselves out on everyday. The point is, the scope of this film can be very broad or very narrow depending on how you want to look at it, and its potential number of interpretations is basically infinite which I love because films that embrace open mindedness make for very enjoyable viewings when done well, which this very much was. 

Not only this, but formally it was also brilliant. The cinematography, the music, the innovative writing, but most importantly, the acting, the camerawork, and the sound design were really quite amazing. There were a few sequences in particular, the sewer dweller, the motion capture, and the dying uncle scenes, that were especially striking. I’ve seen some comment that the film doesn’t really have a narrative structure, but I’d argue that it does in a way. This is a very episodically structured piece, and they may all be unrelated in terms of the events and characters, but they’re still linked by the limousine, and this is the driving force of the film. Different “appointments” evoked different reactions, and the scenes that I mentioned had the biggest emotional reactions, and that’s what’s so great about this film; just about every emotion you can think of, it’s been captured in there somewhere. But they all linked back, in the end, to the limousines, who appear to have their own consciences. I think the weak narrative linkage did also work to the film’s detriment because you can’t really empathise with Mr. Oscar because, well, we barely know him. Whenever we see him, he’s smoking, sleeping, and/or stone-faced for the most part. The emotional range was very broad, but the emotional impact was generally quite low plainly because we are chucked into alien scenarios with little context nor care for any of their characters. I think this is ultimately the main thing that held the film back from being even better. 


It was a strange ending but I think it fitted in well with the tone; it wasn’t a film that exactly made much sense, but it wasn’t supposed to. I’m learning with some of these strange, absurdist films that trying to understand each and every little thing is futile; the best thing to do is to feel a film, and leave the understanding for second. Overall this was a really excellent film and I look forward to seeing more from this director

High 8