Enter the Void

A very, very loose and highly symbolic adaptation of The Tibetan Book of the Dead, Gaspar Noé’s Enter the Void is both a lame fusion of stoner lifestyle, sexual fetish and philosophical inquiry, and a technical achievement not easily dismissed.

Oscar (Nathaniel Brown) is a young, drug-dealing American in Tokyo with an unusually close relationship with his stripper sister, Linda (Paz de la Huerta) and a taste for the chemical hallucinogen DMT. For the majority of the film, we see what Oscar sees. When he’s relatively lucid, this means POV shots with his head shaking and eyes blinking (creating a strobe effect that ties into the film’s overall rave- and strip-club-sourced palette and rhythms). When Oscar gets high, Noé plunges us deep into his hallucinations. Eventually, the camera assumes the perspective of Oscar’s spirit, floating over (and permeating) the walls and roofs of a Tokyo that appears to be a mix of practical sets, digital effects and full-on animation.

Noé knows from base urges, but his ability to imbue a character with realistic life starts and stops with that character’s physical needs and desires. In the end, Void comes off as an extremely elaborate formal exercise about every man’s desire to crawl back into the womb, turned up a loud notch visually, and adapted into every brother’s apparently latent compulsion to impregnate his sister. But, dude, I could stare at this movie for days and not get tired of the sensation.

Categories: Movies