Who knows what's going on?

May 2012
Evening Standard;5/23/2012, p37
HOLY MOTORS YOU never quite know what the often outrageous French director Leos Carax (Boy Meets Girl, Lovers on the Bridge) is going to do next. But this extraordinary fantasy takes the biscuit. Beautifully shot as it is, and equipped with a virtuoso central performance from Denis Levant which requires him to play a dozen or so characters, the film progresses from one incomprehensible chapter to another until the mind boggles with the effort needed to decipher the film. Especially when Kylie Minogue comes on two-thirds of the way through and sings a sad song to a former lover (Levant again) before throwing herself off the top of a Paris hotel. Levant's ever-changing character is called Mr Oscar, and is a shadowy figure who journeys from one alter ego to the next. He is, in turn, a captain of industry, assassin, beggar, monster and family man. Is he just an actor playing these parts, or is he part of Carax's somewhat fevered imagination? We never know. Eva Mendes, Edith Scob and Michel Piccoli assist him in his mostly nocturnal adventures. And Carax quotes Jorge Luis Borges, Georges Bataille and other literary figures in support of the film's philosophy.


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