French writer/director Leos Carax (Boy Meets Girl, Lovers on the Bridge) hasn’t done a film in 13 years. I’m hoping he takes another 13 years off after this mess.
It’s beautifully shot, and you get a virtuoso performance from Denis Levant as Monsieur Oscar, a man that travels the streets of Paris in a limo. He has various appointments, in which he turns into a Lon Chaney type of actor portraying various people – a homeless woman on a street, a stuntman in a movie (Levant was an acrobat) working with a green screen, and a creature that lives in the sewers underneath Paris.
These various “appointments” don’t make sense, and this confusing narrative made me lose interest early. Luckily for me, the film broke down twice during the screening. When it wasn’t working right a third time, I used this as an excuse to split. I didn’t even stay long enough for the biggest name – Kylie Minogue – in the segment in which she sings a sad song to Levant before throwing herself off a hotel (I’m guessing by this point in the movie I would’ve been suicidal, too).
Oh wait, Eva Mendes also pops up as a model. Nothing like watching her cuddle with a strange creature with a huge erection (be prepared, there are a few in the movie).
We never know if as he goes from one alter ego to the next – a poor woman begging, a monster, businessman, family man – if he’s just an actor playing these parts or what.
There are certainly many references thrown out, and there are scenes that will have critics drooling and cinaphiles debating all the intellectual crap going on. Perhaps they’ll tell you that you can interpret things anyway you like.
When Levant changed into a creature going into the sewers and ending up in Pere Lachaise to eat flowers…I thought of two amazing writers buried there – Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison. Surely they’d both be rolling in their graves that this abstract garbage passing as arty cinema. Okay, maybe not Morrison, but…
I’m giving this surrealistic nightmare 1 ½ stars out of 5.