Holy Motors: join the fantasy ride with Eva and Kylie
Mendes and Minogue hop aboard Leo Carax’s exhilarating odyssey through film and dreams
What you need to know
Surreal French movie Holy Motors is written and directed by Leos Carax (Lovers of Pont Neuf). The film caused a sensation at the Cannes film festival earlier this year, prompting rapturous reviews but also leaving many viewers baffled.
Denis Lavant (Lovers of Pont Neuf, A Very Long Engagement) stars as Oscar, a man who swaps between multiple lives as if they are film roles - a captain of industry, assassin, beggar, monster and family man. He is accompanied by Celine - Edith Scob from the French film classic Eyes Without a Face – who drives him around Paris in a limousine.
Along the way he encounters an array of eccentric characters including Kylie Minogue as a suicidal air hostess, Eva Mendes as a supermodel and Michel Piccoli.
What the critics like
Carax’s Holy Motors is weird, wonderful, and barking mad, says Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian. It is “wayward, kaleidoscopic, black comic and bizarre” with a “batsqueak of genius”. It’s “a great big pole-vault over the barrier of normality by someone who feels that the possibilities of cinema have not been exhausted”.
It’s so much more than an arthouse Greatest Hits tape, says Robbie Colin in The Daily Telegraph. This “exhilarating, lunatic odyssey” delves deep into the murky relationship between film and our dreams. In the course of Oscar’s job, dreams don’t just become real, they’re commodified, fetishised, even monetised. “A film about the stuff of cinema itself.”
Holy Motors splashes around in the same mad puddle as David Lynch but it’s a good deal funnier, says Empire. This tale of a man of many faces is “an exhilarating, audacious, lunatic rocket-ride”, and the supporting cast, including Mendes, are all strong. "Hop on board."
What they don’t like
Cult film fans will flip over this narratively unhinged, beautifully shot and frequently hilarious movie, says Rob Nelson in Variety. But there’ll be many who complain that it is “simply preposterous”. What delights the “art-cinema gatekeepers” will likely be to the detriment of its commercial appeal.