2012 Certificate: 18


Wacky but weirdly watchable, maverick French director Leos Carax's city road trip follows the mysterious Monsieur Oscar (Denis Lavant), a chauffeur-driven chameleon who slips into disguises ranging from a grubby beggar to a streetwise assassin in the back of his limousine. Punctuating his cruise through the streets of Paris are otherworldly appearances from Eva Mendes as a fashion model and Kylie Minogue's enigmatic femme fatale. It takes the realism out of surrealism.


  • Leos Carax


  • Denis Lavant

  • Edith Scob

  • Eva Mendes

  • Kylie Minogue


When even diminutive Aussie popstrel Kylie Minogue concedes that Leos Carax's bizarre road trip left her "as confused as the person sitting next to me" you're in trouble.

Because she's actually in it.

Minogue's sequence comes towards the end of Carax's surreal limo journey when she meets protagonist Monsieur Oscar (Lavant) in the splendidly derelict Paris department store Samaritaine.

The suggestion is that she's a professional colleague and was once Oscar's lover but that's about as far as the certainties go in a movie that will enchant as much as it enrages.

When we first meet Oscar he's ambling down the drive of his ultra-modern house, bidding farewell to his wife and kids before settling himself in a back of a stretch limo driven by chauffeur-come-PA Céline (Scob).

Within minutes it's all crash-landed on Planet Mental when he whips off his business suit in the car's tiny dressing room and emerges on a bridge over the Seine as a crippled beggar.

He's ushered back into the car by Céline only to emerge as a motion capture model before - at his barking best - morphing into Mr Merde, a turquoise-suited nutter who kidnaps Eva Mendes from a cemetery fashion shoot, takes his clothes off and eats her hair. (This never happened to her in 2 Fast 2 Furious).

If there's method in Carax's cinematic madness, you're hard-pressed to find it in a film whose only linear route is the limousine journey, a road trip that permits Oscar to sidetrack off into deranged flights of fancy.

Yet it is never less than compelling, provoking moments of sublime black comedy (the assassination scene is an absolute beauty) as much as it triggers an extended episode of head-scratching.

Weird yet rather wonderful.