11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece
I just finished watching this film about ten minutes ago. I knew absolutely nothing about it before watching, which is a good thing. Therefore; I don't want to give any of the plot away. I will say that it's absolutely stunning from a technical point of view; horrifyingly disturbing at times; incredibly beautiful and joyous; terrifying, sleazy, psychedelic, difficult,...
Published on 27 Feb 2011 by Octo7
5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Top Notch Production, But Missing The Gut Punch
Gaspar Noe, director of the classic Irreversible (The one with the fire extinguisher/rape scene), follows it up with Enter The Void (The one with the animated ejaculation shot)
Once our retinas have been scorched by the movie's neon coated, rave-up credits sequence we slide right into the main character's Point Of View, complete with microseconds of blackness...
Published on 23 Feb 2011 by P. J. Potter
Most Helpful First | Newest First
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece,
This review is from: Enter the Void [DVD] (DVD)I just finished watching this film about ten minutes ago. I knew absolutely nothing about it before watching, which is a good thing. Therefore; I don't want to give any of the plot away. I will say that it's absolutely stunning from a technical point of view; horrifyingly disturbing at times; incredibly beautiful and joyous; terrifying, sleazy, psychedelic, difficult, long, arduous, and completely unforgettable. For me personally, it's one of the most intense cinematic experiences I've had since seeing 2001: A Space Odyssey. If you don't like experimental or unconvential films, avoid this; but if you're interested in what I said above, avoid spoilers and watch it immediately.
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At last a true masterpiece for the 21st century,
This review is from: Enter the Void [DVD] (DVD)Watching Enter The Void the film that came to my mind most was Mirror [DVD] , by Tarkovsky. Many film makers have tried to ape Tarkovsky. Most recently Lars von Triers with Antichrist [DVD] , but have failed simply because they concentrate on technical aspects rather than the totality of the Master's approach.
Gaspard Noe has succeeded in creating a masterpiece. And it is a masterpiece that, like Mirror, sets it apart from any other cinematic experience. And he has done this by adopting an approach that is tied to a philosophy. It is irrelevant whether you agree with Noe or not: it is the end product that counts.
Against all my expectation, I found Enter The Void to be a film of sheer beauty. It also put his previous films in perspective and also suggests why, as with Tarkovsky, he takes his time over making his films.
If one looks at I Stand Alone [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (only available on US import so far) one sees how Noe uses the camera to hammer away at the individual and see the world through his eyes. Ultimately I Stand Alone is concerned with the individual. Irreversible [DVD]  took the process one step further and the camera is used, in that film, to make sense of the narrow environment. The scenes that stand out, the rape and the beating, take place within enclosed environments. But in Enter The Void Noe find the drama in the wider world: Tokyo. It is difficult to see where Noe can take this in a new film unless he decides on a science fiction, which seems like the obvious step to me.
As with Tarkovsky, it is impossible to appreciate Noe's films as straight forward storytelling. The story and, in this film, the characters, are incidental to the film as a whole. Much of the film reminded me of those inventive psychedelic films of the sixties and early seventies, especially in the imagery.
Some of the camera shots, especially near the begining, when the camera is used as the eyes of Oscar and the way that the camera explores the city itself, are mind-blowing (if the DVD has a `making of' documentary, then it might be best to avoid it and just wonder at the creation). And though Noe falls back on the camera use that he employed in Irreversible it is still amazing to contemplate in this film.
If Noe is seen as controversial it is only because he stands out from other artists who, in these times, rarely rise above banal and are either scared or incapable of being revolutionary in their art.
Finally, the music used in the film plays a very important role. The use of the Bach orchestral suite (commonly known as Air On A G String) played on (I think) a glass piano fits with the films theme of questioning aesthetics. The music itself sounds simple to our contemporary ears and this is reinforced by the playing of it on the chosen instrument (a glass piano is simply a selection of wine glasses filled with different amounts of water to a particular pitch) but Bach's music is supremely cerebral and still has the ability to sound inventive. Yet the instrument makes it sound innocent and this ties well with the repeated referral to Oscar and Linda's childhood and the act that seemed to determine their future and loss of innocence and the incestuous relationship that develops.
Here again we see the genius of Noe in that he refuses to bow to moralisers and does not portray the act other than something that arose out of events.
And perhaps this is what Noe is getting at: our environment is such a determining factor in shaping us as individuals. But there is also the recognition that nothing is certain, and that we as individuals also shape our environment. There is none of the determinism that we hear so much about these days (a misanthropic view that poisons our everyday relationships, whether through social policy or the arrogance of others). Noe doesn't appear to be fatalist and Enter The Void stands as both a triumph for Noe and for a mankind that allowed the space for this film to be created.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "You fly when you die",
Amazon Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Enter the Void [DVD] (DVD)Gaspar Noe presents ENTER THE VOID: A challenging, mind-warping film. The ambitious writer/director infuses the picture with fluorescent colors and eerie moods reminiscent of the late Stanley Kubrik. In addition, his fascination with drug-addled, depraved souls and use of non-linear storytelling invokes Quentin Tarantino (minus all sense of humor). While ENTER THE VOID includes many disturbing moments (graphic sex, pulped car crash victims, aborted fetus close-ups, narcotic usage), it never approaches the haunting, unbearable brutality of Noe's last opus, IRREVERSIBLE, with its grisly head-bashing and rape scenes.
In spite of the major experimentalism, Noe manages to develop a crystal clear narrative thread and the whole psychedelic soap-opera comes together neatly. From start to finish, this VOID bursts with light, form and sound. Forget Who, What, When, Where and Why . . . ENTER THE VOID leaves one wondering "HOW?"
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Noe's grand vision,
Amazon Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Enter the Void [DVD] (DVD)Gaspar Noe's last film, 'Irreversible', chewed me up and spat me out. By playing the film in reverse, scene by scene, the viewer has little ability to form emotional opinions or attachments to the main characters in that film until its last scenes. By the end, when I finally realised where those emotional ties should be placed and how strong they should be, I was a broken man. I say this because if 'Enter The Void' lacks something, it's the film's inability to draw empathy from you for any of the characters - and I do mean any.
Despite the brother and sister leads having experienced extreme trauma at a young age, I felt no sympathy for them as adults. I concluded that this was intentional, by design, but couldn't fathom why? Was this to ensure I focused on the film's many other creative elements, or it's reincarnation-inspired journey through the death of the Oscar, aka the film's point of view, and the ripple effect that event had on those close to him. Or did the director determine that the characters in the film are the creators and masters of their own misery - was this a statement about the metropolis populous in general?
While the film is psychedelic in parts due to CGI imagery that starts during a drug experience by Oscar at the start of the film, I wouldn't want those thinking of watching 'Enter The Void' to consider the whole film as akin to watching 'Irreversible' while drug-fuelled, through a kaleidoscope. It's not. Tokyo adds much, naturally, in neon - having been there recently I can back that up. Plus there a small number of insertions of Art projects and the likes of the scene in the lighting store. Psychedelic? No, just visually stunning, throughout.
'Enter The Void' is my favourite film of the year. It's an immense accomplishment that has been crafted with a great passion and thus deserves much attention. Gaspar Noe doesn't make films that aim for mass appeal, but then Hollywood rarely makes anything that appeals to me.
If nothing else, you haven't seen the likes of 'Enter The Void' before, from the opening credits onwards.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing and technically brilliant film by Gasper Noe.,
This review is from: Enter the Void [DVD] (DVD)Gaspar Noe has long been hailed and reviled as an unconventional filmmaker of modern French cinema, and Enter the Void is probably not going to change anyone's perception of his talent. Whilst not as controversial and disturbing as the notorious Irreversible, the film is perhaps even more likely to divide viewers between those who take it as pretentious, over long and self-indulgent, and those who find themselves helplessly amazed and caught up in its trippy ride. To an extent both are right and the visually gorgeous, incredibly imaginative film is a modern equivalent of 2001. Noé's camera follows Oscar, a small-time drug dealer and his sister Linda, a nightclub stripper through modern Tokyo. Although "follows" may not be the right word. For the first half hour, Void is shot entirely as subjective point-of-view from Oscar as he trawls the streets. Once Oscar is killed by the police in a failed drug bust, he has an out-of-body experience where he floats around the city observing Linda's life and the people that interact with her. Visually, I couldn't help but be impressed. There were truly some amazing shots, lighting (strobe) and editing techniques. Noe also mixes up the story well as he did in Irreversible. You are not spoon fed the story and I love the way he told the back story of the two leads. Not only that, in a move that would make Brian De Palma baulk, Noé presents it as one unbroken shot that takes in drug-fuelled kaleidoscopes, sprawling cityscapes and a burst of frenzied action. It's a staggering sequence, an opening that stands like a declaration of intent: this is not going to be an easy ride. Or one that follows a path laid down by others. The acting is quite wooden and doesn't ring true but that is only a minor quibble when you have such a visually stunning and epic film experience. It's too controversial and too bizarre to appeal to most people, but it will undoubtedly find its niche as one of the greatest cult classics of all-time.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ambition almost matched by realisation,
This review is from: Enter the Void [DVD] (DVD)I am someone who has written a dissertation about the shamanic use of ayahuasca, one of the most powerful hallucinogens on the planet, and hence my interest in going to see this film a few days ago, which was billed as psychedelic. I knew nothing of the director, and did not read any reviews before going, and I have to say I was blown away by the ambition of what the director was trying to achieve, which was 15 - 20 minutes of a first-person perspective DMT trip, followed by a drug deal that goes bad, all in a real time "single scene".
The only other realistic hallucinogenic experience I have rated was the 10 minute ayahuasca trip in Jan Kounen's "Renegade" (Blueberry in the US), and here Noe manages to create a very beautiful and otherworldly DMT trip, which can be seen in Youtube. (I dissect Kounen's trip in my dissertation which is available online - "Ayahuasca Curandero").
What then follows is not what I would describe as psychedelic in the maybe trippy 60s LSD use of the word (the literal meaning of psychedelic is "mind manifesting"), but as spiritual, in so far as the next two hours is a "real time" out of body experience. This I could really relate to in terms of my own shamanic and natural plant hallucinogen experiences, and I think the director manages to really for the first on film create a single conscious experience that is outside of "space-time". By that I mean that experience is of many events not necessarily in chronological order.
I am not too sure if towards the end of shooting the film ran out of budget, as there is one scene that suffered from being so low tech you could tell that the camera was flying over a model city with a toy car, but that is a minor quibble. I think that this film will be striking for people who have direct experience of out-of-body experiences or have experienced non-ordinary or shamanic states of consciousness. The film is extremely pornographic in places with the sex, but in amongst the chaos and the sex, is quite a spiritual film influenced by the Tibetan Book of the Dead.
This is amazing on the big screen. It may lose quite a lot of impact on the small screen, and is quite a challenge to sit through, but the horror comes from placing yourself in the position of being an incorporeal spirit unable to influence worldly events but in observing all that happens, including your own death.
The end is pretty crazy, and I will try not to spoil it, but this is one film that has to be applauded for what it set out to try and achieve.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Blows your socks off,
This review is from: Enter the Void [DVD] (DVD)THe first few minutes makes you think your head will explode.
The rest of the film attacks your audio visual and intellectual sences.
This is virtual LSD
This is what film is for to stimulate and challenge.
I watched it in a cinema first and the cinema experience is the missing ingredient when seeing it in he comfort of the house without the wrap around darkness and dolby sound
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cinematic Jesus or very naughty boy?,
This review is from: Enter the Void [DVD] (DVD)Enter the Void (Director Gaspar Noé)
It was with some trepidation that I screwed up my courage and went to see the latest offering from the enfant terrible of modern cinema, Gaspar Noé, who has built a reputation (notoriety?) on films of extreme sex and violence. He is responsible for the only film I've never dared to watch - Irreversible. Don't get me wrong; I love violent films. I find them cathartic, especially after Manchester United have lost!! Oldboy and Gangster Number 1 are just about as good as it gets for me. But, and you can call me a wimp here, I have this thing about violence against women. And Irreversible contains a lengthy rape scene that many critics claim is the most extreme in conventional cinema, and virtually unwatchable. Sorry, can't be doing with it. Move on.
As it happens, I needn't have worried about violence against women in Enter the Void. There's plenty of sex, though. Having said that, the women here do seem to be enjoying it! The story involves an American couple with two young kids (Oscar and Linda, played, respectively, by Nathaniel Brown and Paz de la Huerta), who have recently relocated to Japan. There is a horrific car crash (repeated several times throughout the film) that sees the parents instantly killed and the youngsters orphaned. The siblings enter into a blood pact and the older brother vows always to watch out for and protect his younger sister. For ever and ever. The pact is soon to be put to the test, as the little girl is taken away, screaming for her brother, to be rehoused with new foster parents in a different city.
Full of remorse for seemingly letting his sister down, the brother promises that he will earn enough money when he grows up to bring his sister back, and for them to be reunited. He achieves this by dealing drugs in Tokyo's underworld. The film starts with the brother and sister together again. The many years apart have strengthened and transformed the bond between them, and their feelings for each other now appear closer than the normal brother / sister relationship. Linda is supplied with drugs by her brother and gets sucked into a seedy downtown night-life, working as a pole-dancer in a local club and, one is lead to believe, earning a bit on the side in others ways. Things come to a head when Oscar is caught up in a drugs bust by the police and is shot as he tries to dispose of his supplies in the toilet of the bar / nightclub - The Void - where he does most of his dealing. The rest of the film follows Oscar's spirit as he / it attempts to fulfil his childhood vow - to always look out for his sister.
That is the straightforward narrative, but the story is not told chronologically. It is gradually revealed to the viewer through a series of flashbacks, apparently shown in random sequence, that gradually paint in the picture. Moreover, most of the tale is seen from the perspective of Oscar. Literally so, as we are in effect Oscar's eyes and ears for much of the film. The void in the title of the film is both the nightclub where Oscar meets his end, and the life-after-death that follows it. The idea is extended in a series of metaphors - sometimes imaginative, sometimes irritating - that include tracing the path of the bullet through Oscar's body, and full penetrative sex viewed from inside the vagina!
The film confounds current convention in having the title sequence up front at the start, in bold text and accompanied by strobe lighting and thumping house music. The director uses hand-held cinéma vérité camera techniques that accentuate the disorienting effects of drugs, and which mirror similar methods used in films like Cloverfield and Blair Witch Project. There are startling contrasts between the claustrophobic sets of cramped Tokyo flats and dark, smoky nightclubs, and the spiralling views of the big city as viewed from Oscar's spirit perspective. Enter the Void is a spectacular sensual feast with the crazy kaleidoscopic images that accompany Oscar's `trips' set against the neon nightmare of the metropolis, and the random couplings of strangers in anonymous hotels that surround him.
The film worked for me until the last twenty minutes when, in my opinion, it lapsed into little more than high class porn. Worse, it conflated and confused the clarity of the central proposition by over-egging the pudding. Too many new ideas and stimulations are introduced that, in the end, detract from the main theme. At the same time, Enter the Void is likely to prove to be the most talked about film of 2010. It will be praised and reviled in equal measure. But the debate about Noé will continue. Is he a cinematic Jesus? Or just a very naughty boy?
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Through Noe's Looking Glass Magnificently,
This review is from: Enter the Void [DVD] (DVD)Enter the Void is Gaspar Noe's cinematic vision of a darkly excessive Tokyo, dripping with sinister and salacious overtones. This beautiful, delirious, and, perhaps, shocking film has provided cinema with a remarkable visual experience - something sorely lacking from the medium in recent years. Noe's willingness to approach themes otherwise absent from most films marks him as an important director; the visceral, visually arresting nature in which he portrays such themes makes him an irresistible director.
Please do watch. I can't recommend this, and Noe's previous two films, highly enough.
5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Top Notch Production, But Missing The Gut Punch,
This review is from: Enter the Void [DVD] (DVD)Gaspar Noe, director of the classic Irreversible (The one with the fire extinguisher/rape scene), follows it up with Enter The Void (The one with the animated ejaculation shot)
Once our retinas have been scorched by the movie's neon coated, rave-up credits sequence we slide right into the main character's Point Of View, complete with microseconds of blackness to show blinking! If that wasn't riveting enough it then has him light up his DMT pipe and have a 6-minute trip that consists of nothing but kaleidoscopic colours. Once his junkie scumbag mate stabs our man in the back and the fuzz they blast him a new orifice he becomes a disembodied pair of eyes. Flying over and through the city of Tokyo, he observes the people close to him in the aftermath of his death. He quickly learns how to insert himself into the situation.
After that starts running out of steam then the flashbacks show up to illustrate what led to him lying dead, face down in a Japanese toilet. These are shot over-the-shoulder third person style, with his silhouette looking like an empty keyhole, with the relentlessness of Japanese nightlife attacking from all sides. This blank keyhole symbol makes a lot of sense, as the main character is intentionally generic and anonymous enough for the audience to place themselves into his shoes.
You might have noticed the focus on details above. After about 30 minutes in I stopped feeling visceral uncomfortable the way Irreversible had me feeling the whole way through. Probably a bad idea to front-load the emotional climax of being stabbed in the back and shot to death!
The CGI on the many flying-between-buildings sequences is phoney looking and at 2 and half hours long these flyovers eat up a good bit of time (10-20 minutes). At one point it flies into the sky ever so slowly for about 3 minutes all for the point of showing a 10 second scene in a plane. Once the novelty wears thin you'll be wishing it just got to the bloody point.
Far from a complete success, it's the kind of film that I'm happy to see in existence. This ain't some $350 mumblecore effort. It's a much larger scope than Irreversible and shows that there are still massive amounts of creativity as well as great amounts of effort being put into unique cinema like this. It bears repeating how awesome those intro credits are. Plus Paz gets her norks out. Bonus.
Most Helpful First | Newest First
Enter the Void [DVD] by Gaspar Noé (DVD - 2011)
Used & New from: £22.34