Holy Motors (2012)

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Released 11-Jan-2013

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Black Comedy None
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2012
Running Time 115:00
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Leos Carax
Icon Entertainment Starring Denis Lavant
Edith Scob
Eva Mendes
Kylie Minogue
Elise Lhomeau
Jeanne Disson
Michel Piccoli
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI ? Music None Given

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None French
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis


"You seem rather surrealist. Beware of surrealists, they are crazy people."

For some reason the French have always had an affinity for the artistically offbeat. Their association with surrealism in movies goes right back to the dawn of cinema with Un Chien Andalou which Bunuel premiered there in 1929 and continued unabated through the films of Jean Cocteau in the 40s and 50s as well as compadres Christopher Marker with La Jetee (remade as 12 Monkeys) and the works of Alain Resnais including the deliriously dotty L'Annee Derniere a Marienbad (Last Year at Marienbad.

Of course every nation has had has its share of "crazy people" - Peter Greenaway in the UK, David Lynch in the US but there is something about the Gallic humour and love of quirk that lends itself to the offbeat in cinema.

Leos Carax's Holy Motors falls willingly into this fine tradition of films where head scratching goings-on are just part of the fun and the meaning is as difficult to grasp as fairy dust.Those who want a neat, understandable plot will have thrown a shoe at the TV screen about 10 minutes in but anyone who wants a challenging thrilling cinema experience will be glued to the screen wanting to see what happens next.

The plot can be described in simple terms. A man named Oscar, played by Carax favourite Denis Levant, is ferried around in a stretch limo (shades of Cosmopolis?) by a woman, Celine (Elizabeth Scob). He has a busy schedule of assignments to complete during the course of a long day and night. The appointments involve him getting heavily made up in the spacious confines of the limo and assuming roles in various strange scenes. His roles vary greatly. He could just as easily be a father driving his teenage daughter home from a party as a madman, interrupting a modelling shoot featuring Eva Mendes, attacking the group and taking the model back to the sewers of Paris.

Each role has an internal logic but baffling overall meaning. To say more about them, however, would spoil the surprise!

Why is he doing this? What is the significance of the director character walking through his hotel room wall into a cinema at the beginning. And don't get me started in the monkey family at the end! All these questions, and more, rest assured, won't be answered by the final reel!

And yet the baffling nature of the film makes it all that more enjoyable.

After all when was the last time an actor has gone through such massive transformations in character and performance in a single movie? Denis Levant justly deserved the awards he has been given for the film though an Oscar nomination eluded him.

The promotional materials for the film do not shy away from promoting Kylie Minogue being in the film. She is, and she sings, and her performance is something different and interesting. Elizabeth Scob is fine as the chauffeur and fans of cinema will recognize the reference to her bifg break, George Franzou's Eyes Without A Face. In fact, cinema fans will have a field day picking up the scores of film references throughout, leading some to consider that the movie is a look back at the art of movies and a despairing look forward.

Even those who are angered, shocked, surprised or exasperated by Holy Motors must be able to find some admirable qualities. It never takes itself too seriously and whilst the meaning may be elusive it does bear repeated viewings. A must buy for anyone interested in the art of cinema.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality



Holy Motors comes to DVD in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio, consistent with the original aspect ratio. It is 16x9 enhanced.

Icon Entertainment have confirmed that this film will not, in the near future, be getting a Blu-ray release in this Region. That is a great pity as the film is exquisitely photographed and lit and would, I imagine, look a treat in High Definition.

This DVD has its wonderful moments but also has some issues.

It was shot using the Red Epic High Definition Digital camera and transferred to 35mm film for cinema release.

The colours are bright and vibrant. One look at the juxtaposition of the Monsieur Merde's green suit and the red flowers he eats confirms Carax as a director with an eye for boldness in colour.

The flesh tones are accurate and there is a pleasing level of detail throughout.

However the transfer had some compression issues particularly in the early scenes in the hotel room. The transfer exhibits some crush in these semi-dark moments.

There is a light noise throughout.

There are subtitles in English.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts



The sound for Holy Motors is a French Dolby Digital 5.1 track running at 448 Kb/s.

For the most part the film does not demand a surround track. Ensconced in his limousine or lying in his death bed requires little in the way of surround effects. Yet the dialogue in these scenes can be clearly heard. There is occasional use of surround effects and the sub-woofer comes to effect in a few moments, mainly to support the bass of the soundtrack. Still, not bad overall.

The score comes from a variety of sources including a new song from Kylie written by Irish musician/composer Neil Hannon, who includes amongst his varied works the theme for The IT Crowd.

There are no technical problems with the sound.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


There are no extras.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.


The UK Region 2 DVD appears to have some deleted scenes and an interview with Leos Carax.Hard to say much about that as I haven't been able to get detail of the scenes or the interview. My own suggestion would be to buy the Blu-ray of the film in UK Region B and US Region 1 which are apparently coming out shortly.


  Holy Motors is either a breath of fresh air, a playful and riveting head piece or just another example of an art-house director thumbing his nose at his audience - depending on your viewpoint.Those who like things a little different will lap it up.

The DVD is pretty good quality generally.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Saturday, January 26, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDCambridge 650BD (All Regions), using HDMI output
DisplaySony VPL-VW80 Projector on 110" Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer SC-LX 81 7.1
SpeakersAaron ATS-5 7.1

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