Even attempting to describe any three minute segment of Holy Motors might be enough reason to have you committed. The film essentially follows Mr Oscar, a working improv actor who over one night adopts many guises and personas for short periods of time to the delight, amazement, frustration or arousal of others. And always to the confusion of the viewer.
Once you realise that you shouldn’t be looking for a theme or a message, you are then faced with a choice; do I acknowledge the one man tour de force that is Mr Oscar or do I write Holy Motors off as a curio?
The verdict from me is both. Many actors are praised for their ‘brave’ performances, but after you see Mr Oscar immerse himself in so many insanely different roles, spanning characters 30 to 80 with equal efficiency, you might just re-evaluate your definition of bravery.
But that doesn’t make Holy Motors worthy of all the plaudits thrown its way in the last year or so. Sure it is different to anything you have seen in a long time, but so? Piano accordion intermission of no piano accordion intermission, if this was made in English it would be instantly relegated to the experimental bin.
But of course it is French, and therefore melodic, fresh and inspiring.
Maybe to others, but to me by injecting one actor into unusual settings with zero explanation or context, Holy Motors is a fine platform for a chameleonic acting performance, but little more than an oddball film.
Final Rating – 5 / 10. I’ll accept that this deserves mention on a ‘most original ‘ list, even ‘most interesting’, but ‘best’? Nope.