Holy Motors

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Denis Lavant in Holy Motors

Sometimes an inspired performance is enough: If you’re even remotely a fan of the pug-faced, irrepressibly physical Denis Lavant (a dazzling dancer in Beau Travail), then go ahead and add a few more stars. In the surreal Paris of Holy Motors, Lavant plays Oscar, a kind of touring performer—a Lon Chaney–like transformer who cruises in luxe-limo style to a series of “appointments.” His concentration is fierce; he applies false noses and costumes to alternately beg for change, cavort in a motion-capture sound studio, terrorize a city as a sewer-dwelling monster, reunite with lost lover Kylie Minogue (not making this up) or, most touchingly, pick up his shy teenage daughter from a party.

Who could be paying Oscar for these gigs? Wrong question. Or, to take a stab at it, it’s us in the crowd: Director Leos Carax, returning after a 13-year absence from features, is expressly interested in viewership, loading up his episodes with notions of malleable identification and intertextual reference. (The limo driver herself, Edith Scob, dons a spooky mask near the end, and a sharp viewer will recall her turn in Eyes Without a Face.) But Carax, for all his unhinged invention, can’t shake a hint of cerebral stuntiness. Holy Motors is aggressively “wild,” a puzzle that tweaks the mind but doesn’t nourish. It might be our job, as it is Oscar’s, to enter many stories a day, but hopefully, we leave them with more than a mystified shrug.

Follow Joshua Rothkopf on Twitter: @joshrothkopf

Release details

Release date: Wednesday October 17 2012
Duration: 116 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Léos Carax
Cast: Eva Mendes
Kylie Minogue
Michel Piccoli
Denis Lavant

Average User Rating

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You need to be open minded and not afraid of imaginative concepts to get the wonderful wacky world of Monsieur Oscar, played by the BRILLIANT Denis Lavant. In his homage to his profession as an actor he tells funny, tragic and poignant stories with the many characters he impersonates in Leos Carax great cinematic masterpiece. GO SEE IT!