Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. Yes, you read the headline correctly. Holy Motors is the best film in competition at Cannes 2012. And I’m saying that not having seen all the competition films, yet I still say it with authority because, one, I’ve never been afraid to make declarative statements without all the facts (I am American afterall) and, two, it’s hard for me to imagine there’s a film that that perfect combination of laugh-out-loud comedy, cry-in-the-theater drama and wide-eyed “what are they going to do next?” sense of mystery.
This is all you need to know about this movie: It’s about a man who gets in a limo to go to work one morning and is told he has 9 appointments. He opens a dossier, reads and starts to take off his coat. Next we see his limo driver opens his door and out steps an old, old woman… bent over, cane in hand. She begs for change and mumbles a monologue about being alone and close to death.
Denis Lavant plays this character and that’s just ONE of his appointments. What is next? Why is he doing this? Who is he serving? What’s the point of it all?
Lavant showcases a range in this film that most actors have to wait their entire careers to do. Jean Dujardin is great and all, but if there is justice world-wide audiences will embrace Lavant the same way they did Dujardin.
Holy Motors is a bit touched and I mean that in the best possible way. It’s certifiably nutty at points, deeply emotional at points, sometimes hilarious, sometimes scary, sometimes gross, sometimes experimental, sometimes sexy, sometimes bloody, sometimes sad… but through it all is Lavant. He’s out consistent thread, the magician on the stage and he had the audience I saw the film eating out of the palm of his hand.
It’s a varied and powerful performance, buzzing with creative energy. Director Leos Carax gambled big time that Lavant could carry this premise and his large bet on hard eight paid off. I can’t imagine anybody else besides Lavant playing this character and I didn’t know this man before seeing the film.
If a US studio bought this to remake they’d cast Jim Carrey and hire Shawn Levy to direct. They’d make it with good intentions, but all the Rubber-like weirdness would be removed and it’d be homogenized to the point of bland nothingness.
This film has the best use of computer animation, the Godzilla theme and the most awkward, out of the blue boner featured on-screen this side of Gaspar Noe.
There is a small pacing issue I have with the movie… about 3/4ths of the way through it kind of grinds to a halt, but after that small stumble it rights itself and sticks the landing so hard I just wanted to stand up and cheer. What a fantastic ending.
So there you have it, my vote for the best thing I’ve seen at Cannes, the movie I’ll be pissed for when Hanake’s Amour ends up winning the Palme d’Or and an early contender for the number 1 spot in my favorite films of the year.
Don’t be surprised if I revisit this film on the site when I can talk in great depth about it without fear of ruining the experience for you guys. There’s so much to go into, so much meat to this film, especially for movie fans… hell, Lavant’s character’s name itself means so much… Stop it, Vespe! You won’t be able to contain yourself if you keep going down this road!
You’re right, self. I’ll let the film show around a bit before I fuck it up for you guys. Just know that I’m in love with it and want to carry its child to term.