When a film work as maddening, fresh, and bizarre as underrated auteur Leos Carax's Holy Motors comes barreling our way, we must not only take notice, but bask in the glory of its sheer audacity. Carax, with only a handful of magically transporting works under his belt, has almost topped himself with this richly consuming piece.
The plot almost defies description - it must be seen to be believed and savored. Carax's stock star and alter ego (?) Denis Lavant, with his elfin visage and diverse body language, portrays a mysterious agent working for an unclear organization. Driven from scene to scene in a black limousine by his faithful and adoring partner (an enchanting Edith Scob), he uses wigs, make-up, and costumes in the bacseat to transform himself into a bevy of bizarre characters, insinuating himself into the'reel' world as a crippled beggar woman, a virtual-reality sex partner, a dying father, and even his monstrous sewer troll from Carax's beyond weird segment from the omnibus film Tokyo! from a few years back.
The elusiveness of the premise and its delivery are open to audience and critic interpretation, which seems to be the director's sublime intention. He calls our attention to the metaphoric process of watching movies and being affected by them. In its vague sublimities, the unclear transforms the spectator into the creator. His work is what we make of it. No other recent movie is as dialectic or challenging as this one. Certainly no film in its director's canon.
Open-ended, enfuriating, fascinating, calling into question genre and the very act of cine-voyeurism and the artform in its entirety, Holy Motors is a spellbinding provocation every movie lover must see to believe.