Carax has made a totally mad film that could be the basis of an MA dissertation, but is probably best just enjoyed without too much overthinking and analysis.
The weird and wonderful ‘plot’ weaves together several ‘assignments’ that Monsieur Oscar has to complete during a day. He begs for money as an old woman, apparently not interacting with anyone. He does some CGI acting, contorting himself in an erotic routine with a female counterpart as the CGI monsters the two are acting appear on screen. Carax then returns his green-suited grotesque character from portmanteau film Tokyo to the screen, for what is possibly the weirdest stretch of plot, as Monsieur Oscar steals a beautiful model (Eva Mendes) away from a famous photographer. The scariest stretch is still to come – in the form of a simple setting of a father collecting his daughter from a party. I won’t give away any more of the plot, but suffice to say the fragmented character roles Monsieur Oscar plays continue, and just as you don’t think this bizarre film can get any weirder, it does – ending on a scene that would be more appropriate in a children’s TV show than an art house film noir.
Denis Lavant puts in a tour de force performance, relying on his stunning physical repertoire to contort himself into a variety of character roles. Edith Scob, Eva Mendes and Kylie Minogue all perform well in support, but it is Lavant’s performance that makes this film.
What does it all mean? I’m still not sure – and I’ve read a few theories. Perhaps Carax is just entertaining us, trying to make us over think things. Who knows. This has to be seen – and even then you won’t believe it.