Leave the cannoli, take the movies

Review Blog

Holy Motors

Posted by Jonathan Leithold-Patt on December 23, 2012 at 3:05 PM

HOLY MOTORS   ***1/2

Leos Carax


IDEA:  Shuttled around Paris in the back of a stretch limousine, a man takes various appointments throughout the day in which he plays myriad different roles: a beggar woman, a feral creature, a hitman, and much more.

BLURB:  A dissection of performance, a discourse on the art of acting and creating, and a surrealist fever dream diagramming the tortured artist’s soul, Holy Motors is a spectacularly bizarre excursion into the gauzy twilight zone of the movies. For 30 minutes, maybe more, the nonstop barrage of Dadaist buffoonery might seem like pure nonsense. But behind that wicked accordion jam session interlude, those fornicating motion capture dragons, and the talking limos, surprisingly enough, is a magical thread of genuine poignancy; these things actually mean something real, and they're not as indecipherable as you would think. The questions posed of artistic identity and expressive drive are precisely so effective because they come through so clear, abetted rather than obscured by the shape-shifting contraptions of the narrative. And just as it eulogizes the fading of celluloid and practical effects in an age turning invariably to digitization, Holy Motors vitally reinvigorates the creators and their craft by daring to be so utterly, astonishingly unique.

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