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October 1, 2012 | by  | in Arts Film |
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Review – Holy Motors

Directed by Leos Carax

Ever had one of those dreams that was so vividly intriguing that you’re furious to have woken up from it? One so delightfully devoid of worldly restraints that you attempt to lull yourself back to sleep just to return to that intriguingly surreal world? Well, imagine experiencing that fully conscious, in a cinema, and you begin to approach the remarkable viewing experience that is Holy Motors.

The film opens with what comes to be revealed as a very deliberate narrative curve ball tossed by director Leos Carax; namely, the protagonist Oscar leaving his glamorous house, getting into his limo, Bluetooth headset adorned, and appearing to drive forth to work. This opening lulls the viewer into a cushion of cinematic familiarity which is quick to be subverted as Oscar arrives at his first appointment.

Through the course of a single day we see Oscar embark on 11 appointments, each of which could stand independently as its own incomprehensible short film. From disguising himself as a haggard bag lady and begging on a Parisian bridge, to enacting an intense motion capture love scene, to graphically assassinating a double of himself, Oscar’s day is presented as a stream of sub-consciousness at once devoid of any kind of linear narrative and yet absorbing for its beauty and gritty exploration of human vice.

Not afraid to probe all genres, Carax’s film is simultaneously action, thriller, romance, comedy and musical. Furthermore, it proves a melancholy reflection on the waning significance of classic cinematic values. Late in the film Oscar is confronted by a colleague who notes that he doesn’t seem so invested in his work anymore, to which he nostalgically responds that he is indeed frustrated by the way the industry has changed. Holy Motors takes us back to a time when movie making was transcendent artistry, and mourns the dilapidated state of pure, emotive cinema.

The Verdict: 5/5

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