Holy Motors (2012) Review by Shivom Oza - Awe-striking, Awe-inspiring, Awe-some
The film, Holy Motors, directed by Leos Carax, competed for the Palme d'Or at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. It revolves around a day in the life of Monsier Oscar.
Denis Lavant is terrific as the maverick Monsieur Oscar. Not often do you find an actor, who embodies such versatility in his range. The make-up department deserves special mention. Direction and writing par excellence! The film was screened at the 14th Mumbai Film Festival under the 'Rendezvous With French Cinema' category.
Monsieur Oscar (Denis Lavant) is man of many moods and faces. He is shows as someone whose 'profession' is to transform from one character to another. So, he is shown as a businessman, an assassin, a beggar, a monster and even a mutant (somewhat!). It is never made clear through the running of the film as to what Oscar's motives are. He is chauffeured around by an elderly, gentle lady who is doing her job of keeping her master safe. The two move around Paris running one assignment after another. The so-called assignments range from amusing to absurd. You have Oscar and a woman shown fornicating, albeit with their latex body suits on. There's another sequence wherein Oscar is supposed to kill a former accomplice Theo. Following the stabbing, he makes Theo's corpse appear exactly like him so as to make it look like his assassination. However, it does not go as planned and what you have is two Oscars lying on the floor in a pool of blood. There's one particular sequence in which Oscar is shown playing the accordion, and subsequently being joined by an orchestra. This particular instrumental is stupendous and the way it has been shot is mind-blowing. The story of the film is not linear. There are different interpretations that you can extract out of this French masterpiece. However, at no point does the film get tiring. It does get confusing, albeit pleasantly confusing! If that's an emotion!
The performances given by the lead actor and the rest of the supporting cast are marvellous. The make-up is out-of-this-world. The cinematography deserves special mention as do the special effects team.
Don't take this film too literally. Sit back, relish the proceedings. Once the film's over, give a long thought about what it's trying to convey. It has many connotations - political, man vs machine, religion v/s science.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as someone in the film says. Apt for the film itself!
It's a different kind of film alright, but it is one that you should watch!
This title contains:
Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking