Search the Cinema Head Cheese Archives!

February 28, 2011

Movie Review: Enter The Void (2009)

I have many independent film directors that I admire for particular reasons, but only a few really surprise me with each of their projects (which is a unique feat in itself considering the lack of originality in current films). Two filmmakers of note that I hold high on the list are Todd Solondz (Happiness, Welcome to the Dollhouse, Palindromes) and controversial French director, Gaspar Noe (Irreversible, I Stand Alone, Destricted). Both men are very similar in regard to the fearless nature of their films but Noe, for me, even takes a leap over Solondz's provocative film offerings. Enter the Void is a recent example of the growth of this gentleman's craft. MPI/ IFC now have unleashed this hypnotic, beautiful and naturally disturbing, cluster of creativity on Blu-Ray and DVD.

For Enter The Void, Noe brings together international acting and production talents from Germany, France, the U.S and Japan. That's a tough undertaking if you ask me but Noe isn't "other directors “and comes through perfectly after we hit that 160 minute running time. Oscar (Nathaniel Brown) and his sister Linda (Paz de la Huerta) are living in an apartment in Tokyo surrounded by blinding neon signs and buildings. On this night Oscar takes a very powerful hallucinogenic drug called a DMT. Not long after that DMT hits Oscar's system you as the viewer are sucked into Oscar's body for a first-person experience of hallucinogenic visuals that may make you second guess whether someone slipped something in your Yoo-Hoo.

Oscar is shot by authorities within the first 30 minutes of Enter The Void; where it goes from there, is up to Noe. You're now either going to flip the film off or allow the seemingly unpredictable director to take you on his odyssey. For the next two hours we are swamped with wacked-out imagery and even an effective back story about Oscar and his sister in their youth. Let’s just say it was a tough upbringing for our pill-popping hero. These scenes however give the film some separation from films that thrive on intense imagery to tell a story.

Noe's mindset of not really giving a fuck about what people think in reference to violence and hardcore sex isn't any different in Enter The Void as it was in Irreversible or I Stand Alone, it's just a little prettier here. The sex scenes are very explicit and borderline hardcore but far from titillating. Pathetic, listless and even sad is more like it. That's his intention though. I will say the film as whole is lit amazingly.


I'd also like to believe that I'm quite jaded but one sequence that had me squirming a bit was a very realistic abortion scene. Instruments are inserted into the character’s vagina while we're treated to point-of-view that has almost hovering feel. It’s as if we're flies on the wall of this abortion clinic viewing the hideous procedure. A nearly shredded fetus is then shown from a distance and then up-close. Wow! Ugh. I still couldn't turn this film off though. At this point in the feature, I just kept pondering what Noe had coming next.

End of Spoiler**

In the extra feature department MPI has provided a few: Teasers, Foreign Trailer, Deleted Scenes, a U.S trailer, unused trailers and the FX rich supplements VFX and Vortex. Sadly, there is no Gaspar Noe director's commentary. It would have been cool to hear exactly what drove him to make such daring flick.

Visually on Blu-Ray the film is lovely. Please keep in mind much of Enter The Void was shot on 16mm so there is some grain but many scenes (particularly the "hallucinations") look excellent on the format. The audio is quite good as well, lending that much more assistance to the eye-popping visual effects. The version released by MPI is the "Director's Cut" so expect to see several more minutes if you had the fortune of catching this at a screening in the shorter theatrical version.

Enter the Void is a hell of an experience that's an essential pick up for any adventurous indie film-goers that aren't easily offended. Noe's ability to successfully put you in Oscar's shoes is a testament to the skill of this one-of-a-kind talent. To me, it's the driving force that makes this movie work. I'll never be the same after viewing Enter the Void...but that's a good thing.

No comments:

Post a Comment