Tokyo's nasty underside, seen primarily through the eyes of Oscar, a heavy drug user, whose sister Linda is a stripper. Oscar also has flashbacks to his childhood when trauma upends the siblings. Oscar's drug-fed hallucinations alter Tokyo's already-disconcerting nights, and after the police shoot him, he can float above and look down: on his sister's sorrow, on the rooms of a love hotel, and on life at even a molecular level. The spectrum's colors can be beautiful; it's people's colorless lives that can be ugly. And what of afterlife, is there more than a void?Written by
The exact running time at the BFI London Film Festival was 161 minutes. When the film was theatrical released in France on 5th of May 2010, the running time was approximately 154 minutes (official press book). It's clear that Gaspar Noé made some further minor changes: for example the opening credits at BFI London Film Festival were slightly different in its typography and the music from "LFO-Freak" wasn't used there either. See more »
15 minutes into the film, there is a bathroom POV scene where the character is looking into a mirror and splashing water on his face. in the sink, the hands have a ring on them, but in the 'mirror', they do not. See more »
Hey. Hey, Linda. C'mere. Come outside. I wonder what Tokyo looks like from up there.
I'd be scared.
Scared of what?
Of dying, I guess. Falling into the void.
They say you fly when you die.
It's fucking cold.
See more »
At the Cannes Film Festival the film was screened without any opening or closing credits, the film began with "ENTER" and ended with "THE VOID". See more »
In some countries, the theatrical release was shortened by omitting reel 7 of 9. This removed 17 minutes of material. See more »
Written & Produced by Mark Bell
Performed by LFO
(Warp Music/EMI Music Publishing)
Courtesy of Warp Records See more »
Enter at Your Own Risk
One thing's for sure, you won't leave Gaspar Noé's "Enter the Void" with comparisons ready. More than likely, you won't want to think about it at all. Over two and a quarter hours, the film hijacks your consciousness like a potent hallucinogen, and leaves you feeling burnt out and brain-fried on the other end.
Is it worth the trip? Yes, with an asterisk. After all, the opportunity to see something this flagrantly original comes but once in a blue moon, yet it isn't the sort of experience many will enjoy having. "Enter the Void" begins with a strobing title sequence that explodes into a first person account of drugs and death in Tokyo; it ought to come with a seizure warning. Compounding matters, almost every scene is designed to look like one continuous shot, with the camera being placed either behind our protagonist Oscar's head, or behind his eyelids. As if the pulsating neon lights weren't enough, we're also subjected to the split-second blackouts of Oscar blinking.
Visually, "Enter the Void" is unlike anything I've ever seen, but it sure ain't perfect. The problem, bluntly, is its amorphous, front-heavy structure. The first half plays out conventionally enough, beginning with what we assume is the end, and playing flashback catch up to contextualize the subsequent events. We arrive back in the present to neatly tie the knot, only to discover that Noé isn't remotely close to finished telling his story.
Where he takes "Enter the Void" in its ethereal second half is actually pretty fascinating, conceptually. However, it feels like an entirely different film. Noé floats aimlessly back and forth across Neo-Tokyo (to support the 'one shot' aesthetic, he rarely cuts directly from one location to another, often necessitating that the camera move through walls and entire buildings). The film really wears its premise thin during this overlong stint, though the last twenty minutes mostly redeem it.
The conclusion is a little predictable given that the characters seem to be arbitrarily engrossed by the Tibetan Book of the Dead, but it works because it boils "Enter the Void" down to its visual core. Somewhere along the way, the lines of the narrative are obliterated and Noé takes a hypnotically beautiful and bizarre psychosexual detour that bridges the gap to his ending nicely.
In retrospect, it's easy to remember the curious power of its final moments and marginalize the boredom that divides it from the first, much stronger hour. The film would almost certainly benefit from a second viewing, but I'm still not entirely sure that I would ever grant it one. I seriously question how Noé and his editor could stand to watch and assemble this film all day every day, because even their 137-minute finished product is a workout for the eyes. God help us if it were released in 3D.
But for better or worse, eyestrain is part of the experience, and "Enter the Void" is more an incomparable experience than a great film. It's a shame that the vast majority of its potential audience will never even have the opportunity to see it projected, as I can only imagine home video will diminish its psychedelic impact.
The best recommendation I can make is that if, like me, you go out of your way to see distinctly different films, you'll get your money's worth with "Enter the Void." Objectively, it's hard to deny the incredible creative scope and visual audacity on display, but it's also hard not to wish the whole thing were just a wee bit more succinct.
It ain't perfect, but "Enter the Void" is original, and there's no undervaluing that. Hell, I'll try anything once.
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