Holy Motors Reviews

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Super Reviewer
February 17, 2014
This film is very weird, and I am with the majority in thinking this. The film follows a man as he runs around town in a limousine with his faithful driver, put into different scenes that make no sense when put together, and then goes home. The first scene includes a motion capture simulated sex scene, followed by a blind hooligan kidnapping a model, and an accordion march through a church. There's many more scenes like this, and no, it doesn't make sense altogether. Even the ending doesn't make any sense, and it's the main resolution. The main thing to think about when watching this film is the beauty, the eccentricities in every scene, the amazing music, mood, cinematography. It's just an amazing feat of filmmaking and that is something I am with the majority as well. It's a bit slow and quiet at times, but it's something worth sticking with. Besides that, the performance Denis Lavant is spectacular, queer, awesome, and intriguing, all at once.
Markus Emilio Robinson
Super Reviewer
March 9, 2013
The only "talking cars" movie worse than "Cars 2".

Aside from an Andy Serkis-esque lead preformance from the chameleon Denis Lavant, "Holy Motors" is nothing more than pretentious nonsense, pandering to the type of fim geek who attempts to find deeper meaning in randomness.

Follow me on Twitter @moviesmarkus
Super Reviewer
½ December 31, 2012
"Mr. Oscar" drives around Paris in a limo taking on nine "assignments" which require him to become an accodion player, a hitman, or a twisted, fashion model-abducting leprechaun. As a parable about the illusion of identity or the disappearance of actors into their roles or the deam factory or whatever it doesn't add up to much, but it makes a virtue of unpredictability and Lavant's multiple performances are delightfully weird (and occasionally moving).
Super Reviewer
½ December 7, 2012
strange, funny, haunting and great. by the time denis lavant ran through the cemetery dressed as a troll eating flowers from the graves i was hooked. even kylie minogue's singing was impressive. the most entertaining new film i've seen this year! denis lavant deserves an oscar for his role as monsieur oscar.
Nate Z.
Super Reviewer
½ November 17, 2012
I like movies that are different. I like movies that can be hard to understand. Holy Motors, a surreal French film, is both very different and very hard to understand. The movie follows a man as he goes about transforming into nine different characters, each with their own bizarre mission. Is he performing? For whom? Who is behind all this? Does he ever stop assuming false roles? Questions such as these hardly matter in movies such as this. You're either transported by the lyrical weirdness and unpredictability, or you find it tiresome and much ado about nothing. After a while, I just gave up with this movie. I'm not a fan of weird for weird's sake and I felt like that was all I got with Holy Motors. I'm sure you could write a doctoral-level thesis decoding this movie, but why waste valuable hours of your life? This movie is nothing but strange imagery that adds up to precious little. I thought the concept of playing roles/manufactured realities was better explored in Charlie Kaufman's Synecdoche, New York. When a Kaufman movie is more accessible than your film, your name better be David Lynch or you're in trouble. I'm sure several fans of the obscure and outrageous will find amusement at the sheer randomness with Holy Motors. It's got martial arts acrobats, Kylie Minogue breaking out into song, magical resurrection, spontaneous band performances, talking cars, and for good measure chimpanzees. I hope you get more out of it than I did. I found the enterprise to be more tedious than titillating, more frustrating than fascinating, and not worth the trouble of fashioning meaning from the discarded puzzle pieces.

Nate's Grade: C
Bill D 2007
Super Reviewer
½ October 14, 2012
"Holy Motors," from French filmmaker Leos Carax, is the best avant-garde film of 2012 so far. But that's not saying much, as it's been a terrible year for avant-garde film.

Despite its title, "Holy Motors" really isn't about cars. It's somewhat about technology, with limousines probably meant to represent traditional celluloid cameras -- so big and bulky that they are a challenge to handle. But oh so wonderful. Big wonderful machines. Stretch limos can barely turn a corner in the old sectors of great cities like Paris and New York. But doesn't everyone's heart skip a beat just a bit when they enter one?

First and foremost, "Holy Motors" is about people, as was the case with Carax's first film, "Boy Meets Girl" (1984). This is an avant-garde artist with a deep-feeling heart and a deep sensitivity to the people around him. Holy Love. Amen to that.

The film documents a day in the life of a man named Oscar. (Perhaps this is a tribute to American cinema and its big, grand Academy Awards. Holy Glamour.) Played spectacularly well by the protean Denis Lavant, Oscar is carted around all day in a white stretch limo, taken to a series of appointments throughout Paris.

At each appointment, he becomes a different character. His limo is a dressing room, where he applies make-up and elaborate disguises to become his next character. The first one is an old, crippled woman begging for money on the street. Another is a revolting barefoot troll (half-man, half-beast) who interrupts a high-fashion photo shoot and kidnaps the model (who is played by Eva Mendes). Every sequence is quite thrilling, and each one is so different from the others. Most breathtaking of all is the sequence where his movements are recorded in a stop-motion studio, for use in what appears to be a pornographic video game.

Gradually it becomes clear that these appointments are elaborately planned, and everyone he interacts with during each scene is also an actor. While donning his next costume in the limo, he is also reading a file that someone else has prepared, a summary of what his next character will be doing.

We even meet a man who appears to be something like Oscar's employer, who critiques Oscar's performances. Oscar announces that he has been having more difficulty staying in character because the cameras have gotten so small that they cannot be seen. This is when "Holy Motors" started to seem like a comment on digital filmmaking.

At my screening at the New York Film Festival, Carax was in attendance, as was Kylie Minogue, who has a small role in the film. (I initially thought this was Minogue's first time acting. But not so. She has appeared in a number of television shows and films, including "Moulin Rouge," where she played the Green Fairy. Who knew?)

Carax spoke for about a half-hour after the screening, and it became even more clear that "Holy Motors" was primarily meant as an allegory about 21st-century filmmaking and the demise of traditional cameras. At one point, he said the new cameras today are not really cameras. "They're more like computers," he said.

He feels sad about the rise of digital filmmaking, claiming that it "looks terrible." But "Holy Motors," which was shot 100% on digital, looked gorgeous. Gradually during his remarks, the object of his ire shifted. What really angers him is that he's been unable to make a film since 1999. He had several projects collapse at the last minute because producers won't back him. This has nothing to do with the 21st century or changing technology. This is the age-old problem of cinema being enormously expensive.

If anything, it's gotten easier in the digital age because the new technology costs so much less. It's no surprise to me that Carax finally was able to get a project green-lighted now that digital has triumphed. To me, Carax has digital to thank. Furthermore, I suspect that "Holy Motors" is going to succeed well enough financially that he's going to get another project green-lighted in 2013. Holy Digital.

While I appreciate Carax's work and consider myself a fan, I wouldn't put him in my pantheon. There's something still just a bit underwhelming about his work.
Super Reviewer
½ May 31, 2012
I'm lost for words to describe ''Holy Motors'', but I'll do the best I can. It will go down as one of the most unforgettable films of 2012. The film is truly bizarre, with many thought-provoking elements. A few things that don't need more time to process are Denis Lavant's magnificent performance, the great cinematography, the film's great playful tone at times and a number of hilarious moments. I have a problem with the pacing of the third act, as it loses the vibrant energy of the first two acts, but, my goodness, I have to hand it to Leos Carax for creating something this insane.
paul o.
Super Reviewer
½ August 2, 2012
Its the artiest of art house films. There really is no way to describe the whole plot since for 2 hours, you are stuck in a very surreal France. The film explores all genres from sci-fi to musical and establishes director Leos Carax as one of the best in the experimental film category next to David Lynch and Gaspar Noe.
Super Reviewer
½ July 4, 2012
An incredibly absorbing and thought-provoking film, taking us on a mind-boggling journey with a character that drifts from one role to the next in many puzzling rendezvous and identities - a narrative experiment that proves to be fascinating and deeply moving.
Super Reviewer
June 14, 2012
'Holy Motors'. Sensory overload, but so much to think about beneath the pure WTF of it all! This is what the medium of film is meant for. Give Lavant the Oscar now! And Carax, while you're at it.
Super Reviewer
½ December 12, 2012
Holy Motors is the most bizarre movie I've seen all year, it's also one of the most visually stunning as well. Holy Motor is a film that is open to interpretation without a straightforward narrative. It might put off the general public, but Holy Motor is a film worth viewing.

Holy Motors follows the life of Monsieur Oscar, a shadowy character who journeys from one life to the next. The film is challenging to decipher as it could seen as a message of how differently we show our self to other people or as commentary on film making. It all depends on how you view the material presented to you. Even if you don't look into the themes or messages is it still good entertainment. It's unpredictable at what exactly what you're going to see next. You will go from seeing a beautifully choreographed motion capture sequence shot in a darkened room, to seeing a Quasimdo like figure eating flowers and kidnapping a fashion before taking her to his lair, and you even get to see a accordion instrumental number. Some will see these random scenes without much purpose, but at least the scenes are entertaining themselves. Actor Denis Lavant delivers many outstanding performances as a disappointed father, an assassin, a lunatic, and many more all in one film. Lavant is able to change character with grace making him one of the highlights of the film. It's imagery rightfully at the level of art. We get all sorts of visuals blending all perfectly together. Holy Motors won't make logical sense and it's unconventional narrative will some scratching their heads, but it offers an experience that not many film offer and one that is open to interpretations.

Holy Motors is odd, thought provoking, visually stunning, and funny film worth investing. Whether or not you consider looking deep into it themes, you will experience different lives of people and witness its absorbing imagery to profound effect.
Super Reviewer
½ November 20, 2012
Like most other people, Oscar(Denis Lavant) gets dressed and goes to work every morning, albeit from a heavily protected compound and driven in a stretch limousine by Celine(Edith Scob). That helps him get around to his nine appointments of the day, the first of which is being dressed as a beggar woman in the street. After which, things pick up a bit as he performs in motion capture with a partner(Reda Oumouzoune) before kidnapping a model(Eva Mendes) in the middle of a photo shoot in a cemetery, that instead of names and dates on the tombstones, has websites.

I hate to disappoint everybody but when you come down to it, "Holy Motors" really is not that strange of a movie. Honest. Because it is all about the highs and lows of being an actor from the zenith of living a first class lifestyle to where Oscar is right now at not being able to tell what is real or not after decades at his craft.(This becomes especially clear after Michel Piccoli does everybody a favor by showing up to drop a few hints.) It is understandable since ironically the more down to earth the scene acted out, the harder it is tell from fantasy. As to who is watching, maybe the prologue explains it, just as the ending suggests a drive-in.
Super Reviewer
November 15, 2012
Holy Motors is undefinable and wonderfully weird. Despite the flurry of the real and non real, there is good real emotion here. This is a fantasy world that we are quite happy to be caught up in.
Super Reviewer
½ May 14, 2013
What a feast for eyes and mind this fantasy drama is. French and Germans made a wonderful work of art, written and directed by Leos Carax, starring Denis Lavant and Édith Scob. After so many years without making mnovies (it is Carax's first feature film since 1999) this director went to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. It is really petty that prior to the production of Holy Motors, Leos Carax had for five years tried to fund a big English-language film but financiers were reluctant to invest! And now I'm glad that happened!

That's how we got this moving art which initial concept started with a trend Carax had observed where stretch limousines were being increasingly used for weddings. He thought that these cars are bulky, that they're outdated, and that they mark the end of an era, the era of large, visible machines... and from that concept was further developed the idea about the increasing digitalisation of society; a science fiction scenario where organisms and visible machines share a common superfluity.

This movie got me with its artistic richness regardless the strangeness or madness! Full kaleidoscope of black humour and bizarre situations filled with emotions and surprises... it is very hard for a movie to surprise me - this one did it with ease!
Super Reviewer
December 29, 2012
The most original piece of filmmaking I have ever seen, Holy Motors is a surreal expedition through movies that is as strange as it is enthralling. To summarize the plot would entirely defeat the purpose of the movie, especially since it's far from a typical narrative. Simply put though, it's made up of nine or ten vignettes connected by the protagonist, Monsieur Oscar, an actor of sorts who plays all of the protagonists of the vignettes. Each vignette is inspired by a different movie genre; they range from romance to crime thriller to monster movie, and everything in between. Not all of the vignettes are equally interesting, namely one that involves Oscar playing a motion capture actor, but many of them are so fun and exciting that you'll rarely be bored. There is exactly one scene that is grounded in reality, involving Oscar driving his daughter home from a party, but everything else is fantastical. The strangeness factor hits an all-time high at the very end, where it seems to just be weird for the sake of weird, but it doesn't make much of a difference given that the rest of the movie doesn't exactly strive to be realistic. Holy Motors is not for everyone; many people will just find it too unusual. However, if you stick with it and don't worry about what it all means, it's a spectacularly entertaining and completely unique movie.
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
½ February 15, 2013
"You're holy motoring; what's your price for flight in finding Monsieur Oscar?" Man, "Holy Motors" is right, as in "Holy Motors, this film is weird!" Yeah, this film is pretty over-the-top and not really all that enjoyable at all, so I guess in that way it fits the traditional structure of your usual car commercial, but outside of that, I can't tell if this film is trying to sell me the latest Christian-themed vehicle, or if it's not even a car commercial, just the sloppy product of the marriage of the insane minds of the French and German. Hey, if this film is, in fact, the car commercial, or rather, carmmercial, then it's still not as forceful in its presenting its product through all of its nonsensical happenings as plenty of other commercials, because, I don't know about y'all, but when I gladly walked away this film, I wanted Monsieur Oscar's awesome limo, or at least a Popemobile, for that right there is some real holy motoring, and plus, the bulletproof glass will come in handy when critics try to hunt me down for hating this film. Man, I wonder if the actual casual French audience even likes this stuff, while the English-speaking critics are so used to not understanding anything that anyone is saying in foreign films that they don't even notice how stupid and boring the things outside of the talkative moments are, but I reckon we'll never know, because critics evidently don't care about what the French say, just as long as they do something different. Well, folks, if I can give this film credit for nothing else, it is, well... different... No, people, this film isn't without its strengths, being an utter waste of time that I couldn't begin to recommend to anyone with sense, let alone an actual sense of real art, but still with a few bright spots.

Some of your better-looking avant-garde art pieces with no substance and only style tend to merely be mediocre, whereas good-looking, but not stunning films of this type, like "Gomorrah", are utter pieces of garbage, so I can't help but feel as though pretty photography really does bump films of this type up a notch, with this film reinforcing such a theory, as it is bad something fierce, and doesn't even give you the courtesy of "Hunger"-grade visuals, which isn't to say that this film isn't pretty, because as relatively underwhelming as this film's visuals kind of are, Caroline Champetier and Yves Cape deliver on cinematography that is consistently quite attractive in its distinct coloring and lighting, with magic occasions that are nothing short of all-out beautiful. Don't go into this film expecting the awesome testaments to the power of photographic artistry that can be found in Terrence Malick's recent efforts (Hey, Terrence Malick films are essentially the best-looking meditative art piece with little plot, and they're actually about as good as films of this type can be, thus my theory goes further reinforced), but do expect a visually striking stylistic piece that delivers on more technical strengths than just cinematography, with one of the film's most impressive aspects being Bernard Floch makeup effects, which are undeniably upstanding in their seamlessly selling you on the transformations of our lead Monsieur Oscar. What further sells you on our lead is, of course, Denis Lavant's performance, which is backed by very little dramatic material, but stands as one of the film's strongest notes, as Lavant portrays the coldness of Oscar's true form with convincingness that is topped only when Lavant portrays the characters who Oscar portrays, near-remarkably becoming a variety of almost entirely different beings with effortless transformativeness. There's not a whole lot of meat to Lavant's performance, due to writing and directorial shortcomings, so it's not like he's utterly masterful, but our lead is a thoroughly convincing one who does what he can to carrythis disaster, which may very well be saved from a slip into a particular low in quality by Lavant's engagingly commendable lead performance. If it's not Lavant who saves this film as, well, still pretty bad, but not dismal, then it's, of all things, the very subject matter that drives the film into disaster, for although this film's non-plot is tedious, it's hard to deny that it is audaciously original, being definately not original in a good way, but nevertheless inventive enough to boast some small hint of intrigue, augmented by the occasions in which this film's thematic value does, in fact, hit. From a satire on method acting, to most any point that focuses upon music, - particularly a segment in which the Monsieur Oscar character leads a well-done instrumental musical number, captured in a single tracking shot - and is actually pretty entertaining, there are areas in this film, outside of technical and acting natures, that engage, being so few and far between it's ridiculous, but present enough to save the final product from slipping into the state of being about as bad as a useless, overdone art film of this type has ever been. With that said, make no mistake, this film is a dreadfully misguided misfire with no direction, only tedium, as well as a few nifty themes, and I really do mean, "a few".

As I said, a few spots in this film are genuinely intriguing, thanks to their thematic depth and daring uniqueness in storytelling, but on the whole, this very experimental film feels as though it really is nothing more than weird for weird's sake, with plenty of pointless happenings that mean nothing other than nothing, while certain other aspects that really to boast thematic weight fall flat as overemphatic and blandly ineffective. The critics will call this film a genius triumph, not realizing that they are no less brainwashed that the superficial casual moviegoers who are lured into blockbusters by the same amount of pointless spectacle that films of this type deliver, only presented in a different fashion, and that this film is, in fact, not simply not intelligent, but truly stupid, albeit not entirely, as there are occasions in this film that are genuinely intriguing, though not enough of them to compensate for this film's being little more than a shamelessly superfluous and unsubtle jab as the aesthetic who will laud anything that's different. By the time I came to a sequence featuring Evan Mendes that goes too over-the-top with its considerable lack of subtlety and artistic restraint, the film had lost my investment entirely, yet continued to plummet deeper and deeper into uncompellingness that is really never absent at any point in this film, for although there are relatively interesting occasions within this misfire in experimental storytelling, investment goes consistently distanced by wierdness' and subtlety issues' hardly being the only problems within Leos Carax's script, whose story's believability as a character piece and development were most definately never to be too meaty, but go much too far in their thinness, to where initial investment is never truly planted, yet somehow undercut time and again by character actions that dance past the boundaries of suspension of disbelief. Of course, to be totally honest, you'd be lucky to get issues like those, for in order for characterization issues to exist, plot has to exist, as it ever so rarely does in this film, which is all but devoid of actual structure, featuring no real beginning, middle or end, just total aimlessness, with no consistency or grip on steam that quickly and surely falls right off the map as this film limply progresses with no actual sign of progression. Okay, maybe I was going a bit too far in saying that there is no consistency to this film's non-plot, because if nothing else is consistent about this film, then it's its being so do-nothing, and even then, the degree of aimlessness in this film is all over the place, being never absent, but sometimes secured through your traditional expendable moments, and often made unreal in its immensity by sequences that are exceedingly overblown by exhaustingly overlong meditations upon unraveling throw-away actions (Imagine the process of someone walking two feet, only it's two or three times slower than usual and revisited time and again for two hours), if not totally superfluous material and, of course, overwhelming monotony. I can go on all day with jokes about how I would prefer it if this film's runtime was cut down 0 microseconds, but really, at very nearly two hours, this film could have easily lost more than half of its material, because when they say that this film's narrative is challenging, they are not kidding, as this is a film that follows an airtight pattern, repeated a countless number of times, and bloated to no end every time, and such an issue is not forgivable, and is made even less so by Carax's directorial atmosphere's being [b][u]"punishingly"[/u][/b] (I always wanted to use that adverb) dry, providing nearly no liveliness to compensate for this film's being devoid of dialogue for at least half of its entire course, until what you're left with is a paceless film that makes you very every overblown and thoroughly uncompelling beat. Outside of the ever so occasional mildly fun musical number, there is pretty much nothing entertaining about the experience of watching this disaster, and sure, plenty of films have gone saved by their being too bland to be bad, with someone like Terrence Malick actually managing to figure out how to make good movies that have nearly no entertainment value (Don't get me wrong, all of his films squander potential, but at least the ones that he has been doing since "The Thin Red Line" have been reasonably compelling), but the thing about this film is that it is too aimless, boring and, of course, pretentious, boasting a kind of self-righteousness that can be found in almost every film of this type, but rarely on this level, to where the final product truly offends as an arrogant bore that is not simply not likable, but near-despicable, with enough strengths to keep it from plummeting any further than bad, but not enough to keep bad from hitting the scene hard.

In the ever so welcomed end, a disaster goes somewhat padded by a handsome visual style, impressive makeup effects, a reasonably engaging and transformative lead performance by Denis Lavant, and some ever so mild degree of intrigue spawned from this film's being, if nothing else, audaciously original, yet the final product still breaks through the padding as utterly unenjoyable, with too much weirdness and not enough thematic subtlety, as well as characterization issues in what plotting there is within in this aimlessly structureless non-plot, whose tedious course goes bloated by exceeding dragging and monotony, and exacerbated by a punishing dullness in atmosphere, whose boasting too much in the way of offensive arrogance pulls the last straw and leaves "Holy Motors" to crash as a pointless, uncompelling and altogether terribly boring disaster that I, unlike plenty of other, untrustworthy critics, cannot recommend to anyone as anything more than a cure for insomnia and towering testament to how misguided "art" can get.

1.5/5 - Bad
Super Reviewer
November 23, 2012
Holy Motors is a film I've been highly hyped up for, and my expectations were not nearly met. The film has an eerie presence at the beginning, but slowly loses its surrealism in trying to be bizarre. The first forty-five minutes went by before my eyes, but the remaining limped itself along. I found it overly confusing, and a film that loses its magic. But I must say the song "Let my Baby Ride" was fantastic in this movie. A brilliant scene, but I'd just watch the clip on YouTube instead.
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