“Your punishment… is to be you.”
Strangely enough, I’ve actually written out a premise for a movie I’m planning on making in the near future that happens to be quite similar to Holy Motors’. However, the execution I had in mind wasn’t even… umm… anything remotely like this.
In the industry, our world becomes a movie, lost in its roles. It seems that anybody could easily describe this film as being a vignette of out-of-context sequences that could be in various different types of movies, but for what it’s worth contextually with its themes and messages, I actually think what Leos Carax has done here is often well open (a few times to a fault) about the concerns it wants to make regarding the performer experience. It honestly reminds me of something Jean-Luc Godard would come up with (maybe not edit) but with WAY less talking in it, conforming to its excess and commitments of visual fiction within fiction to insight the burdening complexity that the succeeding artist must put themselves through. Holy Motors is a beautiful, spacious, maybe even sometimes tragic and absurd little waltz basically made for full-time actors who’re going through a midlife crisis, but one with enough sundry insinuation there to suggest that being an “actor” could well be representative of the precise, terminological reflection of what a human being is in general, creatures who behave as if they’re being constantly re-scripted into new characters, commanded to stage acts through predeterminations drafted by perhaps a ruling order such as God or if we go off our more literal actor theory, the mechanical, amalgamated, concealed, and ever so aging yet also victimized state of industry upper-ups themselves. That’s very cram-y, Carax, but I f**k with it. What a riotous capper of a final scene too! Gloomy satire!
Here’s a fun fact though for those who’ve seen the movie already: right as Ryan Gosling saw Eva Mendes (now wife) get swooped away straight from the hands of a homeless, cannibalistic sewer leprechaun, that’s when he actually knew he had fallen in love.
“Holy Motors” is now available to stream on Kanopy.