Due for release in the UK on September 24th, Enter The Void is the latest film from Argentinian born French filmmaker Gaspar Noé (I Stand Alone, Irréversible). Being compared to Kubrick’s 2001, I was imagining a psychedelic Ghost meets Jacob’s Ladder with a bit of Eraserhead thrown in. Its been quite some time since I sat down to watch a film with apprehension having read the warnings that this film certainly wasn’t for those inclined to fits or motion sickness. Roll the opening credits, and I could see why.
Set in a neon Tokyo, Oscar (Nathaniel Brown) is in search of the ultimate high whilst doing a little dealing of his own. Orphaned as children, Oscar and his sister Linda (Paz de le Huerta) are reunited in a needy haze of strip bars and seedy club fluorescence. Paz de le Heurta, is perfectly cast to capture the fine line between childlike naivety and overt sexuality. We initially watch the film through the eyes of Oscar, à la Cloverfield, a style that I confess to finding irritating at times. Alex (Cyril Roy) presents the template for the film as he runs through the basic doctrines of the Tibetan Book of the Dead for his tripping friend Oscar en route to an uncomplicated ‘business’ transaction. Here, Oscar meets an expected fate and we swirl upwards with him, above his lifeless body before embarking on an extraordinary trip through city walls and over rooftops to eavesdrop on the unfolding aftermath of his death. Clinging to the pledge never to leave his sister, we transcend time and space witnessing some of the most spectacular, kaleidoscopic imagery, interspersed with intense white light and snapshot memories, ever to hit the screen.
Although Gaspar Noé admits to having found inspiration in watching films while under the influence of psilocybin this is not a film I would recommend watching under a chemical canopy, regardless of the mind-blowing imagery. Certain scenes hit the psyche mercilessly and although still predictable your heart lurches when the ride slams into the wall. At times, the storyline lacks tempo and drags a little. Despite Noé’s claim that Oscar and Linda’s relationship is not incestuous, it is unconvincing. The graphic intercourse scenes put me in mind of some kind of Reichian/Freudian sex therapy clinic.
Nonetheless, this film portrays life and death in all its gory and deserves to find its place as a cult classic.Sit back and enjoy the trip!
Thanks to Anna Meacham @ Media Junction