By Dirk Sonniksen | December 7, 2012
Director: Leos Carax
Writer: Leos Carax (screenplay)
Starring: Denis Lavant, Edith Scob, Eva Mendes, Kylie Minogue, Jeanne Disson, Elise Lhomeau
Where can you see Eva Mendes and a naked leprechaun with an erection? How about simulated video game sex? Kylie Minogue doing a musical number? Chimpanzees? Yes, Holy Motors, of course. One can see all of the aforementioned wonders and so much more when you treat your mind to the latest film from director Leos Carax.
Holy Motors gives new meaning to the phrase “All the world’s a stage,” where select actors play to an audience that is unknown, while at the same time mocking a society gorged on media and pop culture overkill. Our lead, Monsieur Oscar (Denis Lavant) spends the day acting out, quite literally. He’s a banker, a beggar, a subterranean leprechaun, a hit man, an animated creature, a dying man, and a normal Joe. Monsieur Oscar interacts with a seemingly real world, and with those that are part of the performance. But what is real and what is make believe? Who is Monsieur Oscar’s audience? Does it matter?
It takes a lot of imagination, energy, and guts to play the role(s) of Monsieur Oscar and Denis Lavant has it all, including, yes, the ability to maintain an erection on camera. Impressive. Another impressive feat is pulled off by Edith Scob as Monsieur Oscar’s driver and confidant. Kylie Minogue graces the story with a bit of acting and a tune, while Eva Mendes, well, does a damn fine Eva Mendes. Other notables include Elise Lhomeau and Jeanne Disson.
Leos Carax doesn’t give audiences the “big reveal” in Holy Motors, and to be honest, it’s not important. Whether you come away from Holy Motors with any sort of clear understanding of the story is irrelevant, and don’t let the film snobs tell you otherwise. This is a well constructed little brain scrambler. It’s the kind of film fare that is typically a tough pill to swallow for the general cinemagoer, but Carax does an outstanding job of turning Lavant’s day into a series of shorts that work well on their own, but also flow quite well when sewn together.
Rating: 8 of 10