Holy Motors

Holy Motors ★★★★

[77]

Something I can guarantee: you will never see another film like this. Something I cannot guarantee: you will like this. The connotations of HOLY MOTORS as a proxy for the "Death of Cinema" or its probing of questionable self-identification (the idea of a blurred line between “acting” and “real life”) have been pummeled to the ground by people much more qualified than me, so I won't bother to touch on those ideas—to which there is an undeniably large basis of credibility—but instead marvel at the sheer audacity of a film so uniquely isolated. While architectured crypticism can often administer a joyous time attempting to decipher it, in some cases the baggage of doing so might detract from the rare, cursory experience being offered. As with Tarkovsky's MIRROR, sometimes providing a waterproof explanation for every single detail is not the best way to submit yourself to a film. And while there are presumably endless possibilities about the subtextual content, this is inevitably a case where I prefer to marvel at what the film achieves formally, as opposed to thematically; I can't really describe it any better than fellow reviewer Jordan Smith already did (so I'll just shamelessly crib): "That's the point of HOLY MOTORS: that everything has been done before and you have to destroy that in order to create something new. How does Holy Motors do this? By giving us what we've seen before, but in a wholly different light." Fundamentally, nothing here is unprecedented—whether it be a spontaneous musical number, a deathbed soliloquy, or a father-daughter heart-to-heart—but the way in which these items are presented, including the compilationesque format (viz. a series of essentially unrelated vignettes, only affiliated by the offbeat occupational device), breathes a sense of originality into these old, familiar bromides. Can't say certain parts didn't leave me in a flurry of utter befuddlement, but I've had few cinematic experiences as engrossingly aberrant as this one. Revisits not only encouraged, but probably necessary, just to extract the full cornucopia this oddity possesses.

Also, “Entracte” sequence (aka Accordion Interlude) might be the only thing I can think of that could challenge THE MASTER’s Informal Processing as “Best Scene of 2012.”

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