A junkie dies in a sleazy Tokyo dive, but he refuses to leave the world
because he had made a childhood promise never to leave his sister. The film
follows his soul as it floats from place to place in the filthy haunts of drug
users and around the garish neon world of Tokyo's underbelly of erotic commerce. He
watches over his sibling while his consciousness simultaneously regresses
toward his childhood memories and even his own birth. Since his sister is a
stripper who seems to have sex non-stop, he (therefore "we" in his P.O.V)
spends most of his time watching her get laid, except for when he watches her
get an abortion.
And that's about it.
Fire one up and break out the old kaleidoscope and lava lamps, man,
because, like, the sixties are back, man. The film is self-consciously
transgressive, self-consciously artistic, and painfully "psychedelic.'' The
director is constantly in search of provocative and trippy new P.O.V. shots.
For example, one scene finds the camera inside the sister's vagina, looking at
the penis entering it. Another scene is a graphic representation of an
abortion, complete with a spread-legged view, detailed medical procedures, and
a bloody fetus. The film is filled with graphic sex and nudity. Unfortunately, it's not romantic, or even erotic.
are grimy, and there's no tenderness or real joy in
the sex. It's just fucking.
As you might expect, opinions vary dramatically on the merit and
appropriateness of this project, with evaluations running the full gamut from
"leading-edge genius" to "pretentious and boring drivel."
If you read the following debate culled from seven different reviewers, you
will certainly see that it is a love-it-or-hate-it kind of movie.
Ambitious, deeply mystic and provocative movie with earth-shattering FX
Billed by director Gaspar Noe as a "psychedelic melodrama" inspired by his
hallucinogen-powered screening of "Lady in the Lake," "Enter the Void"
suggests the Gallic provocateur should get some better drugs. Not clever
enough to be truly pretentious, Noe's tiresomely gimmicky film about a
low-level Tokyo drug dealer who enjoys one long, last trip after dying proves
to be the ne plus ultra of nothing much.
At his best, Gaspar Noé is so far ahead of everyone
else that Enter the Void remains an absolute must-see, as flawed and
exhausting as it can be.
'Enter the Void' is like 'Ghost' without the romance, humor or suspense.
Gaspar Noé has followed up his 2002 Irreversible, an
unwatchable exercise in provocation, with Enter the Void, an unbearable
exercise in provocation.
Work of art or huge practical joke? Can't say, but
you've never seen anything remotely like Enter the Void.
A visually creative but pointless assault on the
senses that uses Freudian imagery to give the illusion of profundity in a tale
designed to indulge an adolescent view of drugs and sex while satisfying a
childish impulse to shock.
Which side of the debate am I on? Well, despite my distaste for Gasper
Noe's films in general, I might have given this one a moderately positive
review if it had been about 90 minutes long, but 160 minutes of death-on-acid
death was way
too much for me to bear.