Newest Reviews
Worst Person in the World, The
Hunter Will Get You
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse
Men, The
Parallel Mothers
Sadness, The
Bloody New Year
Body Count
Spider-Man: No Way Home
'Round Midnight
Wild Men
Barry & Joan
Wake Up Punk
Twin, The
Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy
One of These Days
Lift to the Scaffold
Savage Dawn
Rest in Pieces
Innocents in Paris
We're All Going to the World's Fair
Beyond the Door 3
Jules et Jim
Love Jones
Souvenir Part II, The
400 Blows, The
Virus: 32
Studio 666
Great Movement, The
Lost in La Mancha
Cellar, The
Sacred Spirit, The
Chess of the Wind
Nineteen Eighty-Four
Newest Articles
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
  Holy Motors The Toll Of The Role
Year: 2012
Director: Leos Carax
Stars: Denis Lavant, Edith Scob, Eva Mendes, Kylie Minogue, Elise Lhomeau, Jeanne Disson, Michel Piccoli, Leos Carax, Nastya Golubeva Carax, Reda Oumouzoune, Zlata, Geoffrey Carey, Annabelle Dexter-Jones, Elise Caron, Corinne Yam, Julien Prévost, Ahcène Nini
Genre: WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: A cinema audience are asleep as the film plays out before them and in an adjacent room a man (Leos Carax) wakes up in bed. He gets up, walks around the walls and unlocks a hidden door with a key attached to his finger, then goes through to enter the balcony of the auditorium where he notices a small child followed by a couple of huge dogs making their way up the aisle. Meanwhile, Oscar (Denis Lavant) is setting out for work; his family wave him goodbye for the day and he climbs into the limousine which will take him to his destinations, for Oscar has many jobs to fuilfil...

And not all of them reasonable, indeed they are pretty much all crazy, in this, the first feature from writer and director Leos Carax since Pola X in 1999. He had contributed short works in that time, but nothing quite as ambitious as Holy Motors, nor one which divided its audience so completely down the middle, with some proclaiming it a masterpiece and others rolling their eyes and dismissing it as pretentious claptrap. Yet for all the hostility Carax received for not explaining every bit of this film, actually he explained very little which was likely the cause of the consternation, he did appear to have a sincere method in his madness as he examined the strange lifestyle of a filmmaker.

Not just himself as a filmmaker, but the actors who show up for a job, act out something they would never dream of doing in real life whether because it was beyond the laws of science or because it's simply not the sort of thing a normal person carries out, and have to go home as if they were an ordinary soul being professional in their occupation. The business that Lavant would get up to here was not going to obviously slot into many kinds of movies in themselves, but you got the gist as Oscar plays out various scenes his chauffeuse Céline (played by veteran star Edith Scob) takes him to in the limo which would broadly fit a definition of a genre: love story, horror flick, family drama, musical, and so on.

The content of those setpieces was what baffled so many viewers, leaving them unsure of when or if they should be laughing, and it was true a lot of this was very funny in its blankly strange fashion, yet then there would be a scene aiming for the tearducts which didn't quite gel with the rest of it because you were waiting for the next example of weirdness to set Oscar off on another journey. Therefore we may have been watching him indulge in a soul searching heart to heart with Kylie Minogue who expresses her sorrow by trilling a melancholy tune, but then again we have also seen him kidnap Eva Mendes from a photo shoot, take her to the sewers, tear up her dress to make a burqa and curl up naked and sexually aroused on her lap.

It could be that Carax was hedging his bets by packing in as much of what was on his mind as possible, as if this was the last chance he'd get to be so personal and creative: make no mistake, that was one fertile imagination he had in his noggin even if it didn't translate to universal inspiration. This lifestyle is taking its toll on Oscar - which is Carax's genuine middle name, make of that what you will - and Lavant worked wonders in both inhabiting every role he was required to and keeping some sense of continuity as he was dressed up as an elderly beggar woman in one scene and murdering a man who turns out to be himself in different makeup in another. That Holy Motors was frequently ridiculous was much of the charm, though also the reason it would be difficult to get along with should you allow suspicion as to Carax's motives into your thoughts: when a heartfelt deathbed scene resolved itself into both participants saying thanks, good to work with you, maybe see you again there appeared to be a crisis of the worth of fiction going on, never mind the roles we take in life.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 3430 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film


Leos Carax  (1960 - )

Stylish, semi-improvisational French writer-director, a former critic who developed from short films into features with the well regarded Boy Meets Girl. However, it was the futuristic romance Mauvais Sang that really awarded him international attention and all looked well for his lavish love story follow up, Les Amants du Pont-Neuf. Unfortunately it was a failure and it was the end of the nineties before his subsequent film, family drama Pola X, arrived. Carax's cult following increased when after making short films for the next decade he completed his curious, much discussed feature Holy Motors which delighted and confounded in equal measure. By contrast, his musical with art rock band Sparks Annette was more conventional - but still weird. Often works with Denis Lavant.

Review Comments (1)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Enoch Sneed


Last Updated: