Film: Holy Motors

The new feature by acclaimed French auteur Leos Carax, Holy Motors (2012) is a provocative and visually accomplished film, but your appreciation of it will depend largely on your tolerance for plotless weirdness. The film is about Oscar (Denis Lavant), who leaves his loving family one morning, climbs into an imposing stretch limo, and heads off to work. Oscar is an actor, but he performs his various roles out in reality, changing guises from one “appointment” to another. But as his work day goes on, his roles grow more serious, his performance increasingly world weary.

There’s probably a cogent thematic analysis of this film out there somewhere, but it won’t be coming from me. I found Holy Motors an interesting oddity, reminiscent of David Lynch in some respects. I took it as an extended, scattershot rumination on aging and the roles people play in life. That said, it’s definitely an art film, ponderous at times, less a story than an idea piece relying on mystique, provoction, and imagery. It’s compelling in snatches, and often startling, but ultimately it stretched my patience, although I suspect I would have appreciated it more in a different mood.

Scroll to Top