That world is full of laughter, horror, rapture and eddies and swells of despair. It’s an episodic work of great visual invention — from scene to scene, you never see what’s coming — that reminds you just how drearily conventional many movies are. You want three acts? How dull. A pretty protagonist? Oh, please. The triumph of the human spirit? Go away. Mr. Carax has nothing for you. What he has are weird tales; beautifully whirling, gyrating bodies; an anguished song, a sense of drift and the steady (heart) beat of lament.
[…] It’s a gift for moviegoers to have this much freedom, and exhilarating. In “Holy Motors” you never know where Mr. Carax will take you and you never know what, exactly, you’re to do once you’re there. Sometimes you may be amazed or delighted; other times, you may feel restless or uninterested. No matter: there’s always another new vision coming up. If that sounds confusing, it isn’t. Although the movie doesn’t have an obvious narrative through line, its episodes are nonetheless deeply connected by mood, visual style and Mr. Lavant. They are connected, in other words, by Mr. Carax’s singular, fluid artistic vision. And while at times it feels as if “Holy Motors” had been cobbled together from a million movies, it mostly, wonderfully, feels unlike anything else: it’s cinema reloaded.
—Manohla Dargis, “It’s Not About the Destination, but About the Dizzying Ride”
(Source: The New York Times)