Annette Kellerman From Fantastic Fest 2012: HOLY MOTORS!!
I heard from a few reliable sources that HOLY MOTORS was the one film at
Fantastic Fest that was not to be missed. It's always a bit tricky when a movie
is built up like that, and I admit that my expectations were very high. While
my friends trumpeted the films greatness, they also admitted that HOLY MOTORS
defies description and that I would just have to see it myself. I guess this
should've been a big red flag for me, because I can describe it as a beautiful
yet confusing goose chase. The goose chase is in finding any semblance of a
The film opens with an esoteric sequence in which our main character, Mr. Oscar,
wakes and uses one of his fingers that is actually a sort of key to open a
secret door that leads to the balcony of a theater where a completely motionless
audience is watching a film. Yeah. This pretty much sets the bizarre tone for
the rest of the movie. The next sequence shows Mr. Oscar leaving a modern
mansion and getting into a white limousine to begin the workday. It is soon
revealed that the limo is stocked with a never-ending array of costumes, wigs,
and facial prosthetics that he uses for each assignment he finds in a mysterious
notebook. Each time he exits the limo, he is transformed into a new character
and embarks on an entirely strange new scenario.
From begging on the street as an elderly hag to kidnapping Eva Mendes as a
flower eating leprechaun, the tonal shift between each assignment is incredible.
One of the segments featuring Lavant as an accordian playing ringleader of a rag
tag kind of marching band was a definite highlight for me. The film is
beautifully shot and Denis Lavant's performance as the mysterious shape shifter
My problem is that the film ultimately lacks any kind of order, thread, or
narrative that ties the whole journey together. The result is that the film
comes off as an unintentional anthology and not a cohesive story. There is no
story. Even the individual sequences lack an actual plot. So, while it is
visually amazing and well performed, the overall effect is just a jumble of
confusing ideas and potential that is never quite realized.
I really wanted to love this one and be part of the cool crew who count it as a
favorite, but unfortunately HOLY MOTORS just didn't do it for me. If you are a
fan if bizarro films, this one might just be right up your alley, but don't say
I didn't warn you.
I'll be back for more Fantastic Fest madness throughout the week!