Published Sep 21, 2009Those familiar with Gaspar Noé's previous feature, 2002's Irréversible, have reason to be wary of Enter the Void, his latest rumination of the cruelty of life. Famous for the ten-minute stationary camera scene of Monica Bellucci's anal rape, Noé explores the more stomach-turning head-trip elements of that film in even more disturbing grandeur. Even the opening credit sequence is among the most intense in film history ― the names appear in huge, bold, flashing neon text.
Oscar (Nathanial Brown) is a young junkie/drug dealer living in Japan with his sister, who's shot and killed during a bust in a club called the Void. After his death, his spirit checks in with his sister, for whom he views with unsubtle incestuous intent, the weakling sap Victor, who betrayed him, fellow junkie/friend Alex (Cyril Roy) and the various others he encountered before his death. As he follows their miserable lives from above, he hurdles towards the inevitable afterlife, which includes the most graphic representation of reincarnation set to film ― let's just say the animation is stunning in its "conception."
The camera is placed directly behind Oscar's eyes and after his death, shows the point of view of Oscar's spirit, with flashbacks to his childhood, with the camera behind the boy's head. Once again from Noé, the film is presented literally seamlessly, with no standards cuts used to transition scenes.
Noé continues to demonstrate what a visually stunning filmmaker he is; Oscar's DMT hallucinations early on manifest in incredibly elaborate, spiralling, abstract animations. The feeling during the film is the closest to a cinematic bad acid trip ever created. Even landmark works like Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas can't compare.
It's unfortunate Noé excels in the niche field of creating the most harrowing and soul-crushing cinemascapes of the decade. But for the brave few willing to make the venture, a unique and powerful experience lies ahead. (FidÃ©litÃ© Films)