Aneesh Chaganty

Movie #188 Enter the Void

In Uncategorized on April 24, 2011 at 12:20 AM

Movie #188 Enter the Void

(2009, France, d. Gaspar Noe)

Noe’s previous film Irreversible is an incredibly taut film, and perhaps one of the best films I’ve reviewed in the past year. However, Enter the Void, despite all the positive attention it’s received, is not as good a film as it appears to be. I find it exceptionally difficult to write about Void because it is probably one of the most unique film-watching experiences I’ve ever had in my life. For this, I do suggest viewing the film. I can safely say there has never been a movie like it, tonally and visually. What Noe is able to accomplish emotionally and through editing and camera manipulation is absurd, in a totally good way. He has an incredible knack for impacting viewers with every image of his films and inserting his own, unique voice into every frame. And though I think I hated this film, in that regard, it is one of the better films I’ve seen this year. It is a masterpiece. It is well-thought out, well-acted, wonderfully directed, and most of all – a novel piece of filmmaking – a fresh injection of originality to prove there is still some of that drug going around. And most of all, it is visually relevant. My highest standard for a film is that its visuals clearly relate to the theme of the piece. Most movies never accomplish this. Noe here does so. But let me be clear: I hated the film. It was an effective film, in that it left me feeling completely naked and penetrable. The car ride back from the theaters it showed at in Santa Monica was strangely eerie. I didn’t want to say too much about the film and at the same time, couldn’t keep my mouth shut. What had I just seen? Enter the Void is the story/theory about life after life. When our drug-induced protagonist is shot by police in a restaurant bathroom for dealing, he begins to have an out-of-body experience. Up until his death, the movie was entirely POV – hiding its cuts through the character’s blinking of eyes. After his death, the camera steps back and views all the moments leading up to the killing from behind his head. From there, the Camera moves upward – as if from the skies, and watches the lives of everyone around the protagonist after the death. Is what we are watching real? Or is it simply a sign of DMT released upon death that causes one to hallucinate. In any regard, Enter the Void is a techno-infused spiritual journey to hell. Is it a story of reincarnation? Of redemption? Of hope? Or of chaos? I can’t answer that. And now that I’m writing this, it does come off like I enjoyed the film. But I hope you will excuse me this once in simply saying that I didn’t. Enter the Void is a masterwork – and strangely enough, feels like it is taking the same critical path as 2001: A Space Odyssey did when it came out. Perhaps this is the next 2001. I would be lying to you if I said that thought didn’t cross my mind a hundred times in the car ride back. Perhaps, the next time I speak of this film I will be raving about it. But the fact is, I didn’t like it. The disgustingly prolonged sex scenes, painfully realistic abortion sequences, strong incestual undercurrents and truly horrifying (albeit masterful) sound design simply proved too overwhelming for me. Perhaps that was the reason. But please, check this film out. At least watch the opening credits.

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