If you’re one of those people who needs to understand their entertainment, you should probably go see Red Dawn. Or stay home and watch the Discovery Channel.
But, if you’re someone who likes a little freaky-deaky-avant-garde French film, consider Holy Motors.
Disclaimer: You probably won’t understand it. I didn’t.
What’s to understand? If you’ve ever wanted to watch a man with luminescent dots on his jumpsuit run on a treadmill in the dark while firing an automatic weapon, you’re one lucky duck. The jumpsuited man in question is Oscar (played by Denis Lavant), playing one of many roles he’ll portray: a beggar, a killer, a monster, a family man, an important businessman. Written and directed by Leos Carax (Boy Meets Girl), the film features Oscar using the limo as a dressing room, a dining table and his vantage point on the world before he ventures out to play his weird performances.
Each role is delivered to Oscar in a black binder that he studies before consulting the wardrobe, props and makeup he carries in the limo. At one point he resembles a scraggly, deranged leprechaun that bites the fingers off a photo assistant before kidnapping a comatose model (Eva Mendes). In another, a shirtless assassin wearing a Pussy Riot-style face covering. For an intermission, there’s a flash mob accordion breakdown.
In the less surreal segments, Oscar plays a father driving around Paris in a subcompact car talking with a daughter. In a more conventional guise, he meets a woman played by Australian songstress Kylie Minogue. Their white limos pulled up next to each other, they sneak off and spend a few quiet moments ruminating around a decaying building.
Oscar plays his roles with a weary normality. He performs this seemingly pointless, but apparently essentially, job day after day. In one tired moment he asks his chauffeur (Edith Scob) whether there would be any forest scenes today. He demonstrates the point that anything repeated often enough loses its luster to the vagaries of boredom. Maybe Holy Motors isn’t so outlandish after all.