Sep 25 2013
You see that circle around you? That big, glowing circle that you are standing in the middle of? I want you to take two steps forward, right now, out of that. That, my friends, is your comfort zone, and I want to pull you out of it with this recommendation. Enter the Void is not a film. Enter the Void is an experience. It is birth to death. It is sex and drugs. It is nihilism and hope, fucking on a bed of broken glass. If you sit down to watch this film with the same mind set you have sat down to watch countless films before, you will be going into this all wrong. This is pure art, decadent and dark, honest and unsettling. This is you waking up all your senses and using them at once. This is neon-Tokyo, made electric and alive. This is Gaspar Noe. This is Enter the Void….
As I am sure you all know, Gasper Noe is a director with an eye and mind quite unlike any other film maker. Most well known for the brilliant and evocative Irreversible (and less well known for the equally impressive and disturbing I Stand Alone), Enter the Void is Noe showing us that he works in layers, and the more time you spend peeling back his work, the more you discover. To take a Gaspar Noe film at face value is to massively devalue what the man is brave enough to try to do, which is ultimately, make us think. It may be the act of making us think about some things we want to pretend don’t exist, but regardless, the best artists muster thought, and that is JUST what Enter the Void does. I immediately understand that talking too much about this film is to suckle out some of the beautiful mystery to it, but we will start this the right way, setting the tone, visually, for what Enter the Void is.
Enter the Void is a film about life and death, and what happens to us in between. It is about family, and about regret, and about how we are all spiritual entities that use our bodies as vehicles, and when our time is up for that body, the time may not be up yet for that soul. It deals with love, and it forces us all to deal with the ideas of death, as well as reincarnation, which is key to understanding this film. I know this may all sound like transcendental bullshit, but the first step to enjoying this movie is having an inkling what the fuck is going on, and if you have no experience with the Tibetan Book of the Dead, and know nothing about DMT, this film may bore and annoy you. It is well worth acclimating yourself slightly with both of those things before you take this journey, because it is with that that knowledge that this film becomes incredibly meaningful.
I also feel compelled to tell you how upsetting this movie can be for some people. This is, afterall, Gaspar Noe, so there are incestuous undertones, abortion is dealt with in a very frank nature, and there is a rather explicit (and wholly amazing and unforgettable) orgy scene that will have you writhing with discomfort, yet awed by just how well executed it is. I won’t ruin any of this, and again, I am being cryptic on purpose. Okay, I have dodged the actual storyline enough, and speaking in metaphors is at maximum capacity already, so on to the literal.
Enter the Void is about an American named Oscar, living (and dealing drugs) in Tokyo. He is killed early on in the film in a setup by one of his friends (not a spoiler) and we see the film through, get ready for this, his eyes and his memories. Yes, I said his eyes.
A great deal of Enter the Void is in first person, and while that sounds like it may be jarring, it is completely necessary here, and works to the absolute benefit of the movie. You need to trust me on this. After his “death”, we see Oscar witnessing life going on after him, and how his passing affects those around him, namely and most importantly, his sister, Linda, played by Paz de la Huerta, who most of you may know from Boardwalk Empire. Though the movie may be seen and experienced through Oscar’s eyes and memories, this is Paz’s film, through and through. She dances between alluring and insane with a palpable sense that she has a real understanding of them both, and we cannot help but feel every heaving emotion she feels throughout this (three hour) ride. Yes, it is a LLLLLOOOONNNGGG movie, but I will tell you honestly, it does not feel like one. By the time the film wraps, and you fully fathom that you just experienced Oscar’s whole life, it sort of awes and exhausts you, but in the best way possible.
Now, if I may, I want to talk about how this film looks. There are COUNTLESS movies that have tried to cash in on the look of this movie since in came out in 2009, even in poster alone. Here are a few of those:
Do you know why the visual flair of Enter the Void is already being poached so much?
Because Enter the Void was a visually stunning film that truly looks like NOTHING you have ever seen. There are transitions between frames in this film that will awe you, and show you the true genius of Noe, which was always evident, but harder for some to see buried under layers of “shock”. Enter the Void pulls those layers away, one by one, and even though the visuals are unforgettable, it is an incredibly brave story to tell, and these posters pray you make that connection in your head and see these films based on that alone. Yet these posters seem to have lost the point of what Enter the Void is, though, which, again, is a true life-to-death experience. These are not just “shiny neon colors”. As much as the neon in the film is a part of Tokyo (and you can tell me these movies have similar posters based on where the movies are set, but I would argue that), the neon is also used in Enter the Void to bring that odd sense of limbo to life. This is a world between life and death. A world bathed in neon light, where every character is as shady as the last, and death is always just a kiss away. The lighting and direction in this film is used to help imbue that sense of spiritualism that is necessary in the viewer to take this ride and experience it like it needs to be experienced. Again, not seen. Experienced. I cannot stress that enough.
But please, be aware, a slight knowledge of certain drugs and certain drug cultures, as well as atleast a SLIGHT awareness of reincarnation and the process of death in regards to the D.M.T in our own bodies that gets released upon time of death, are atleast partially necessary elements to enjoying this ride for what it is really is. Don’t get me wrong, you can know nothing about any of these things and still be blown away by the movie, but I recommend atleast schooling yourself a little bit before taking this journey. lest it may just look like a giant acid trip, with some sex and death thrown i in, and to see it like that is worse than not seeing at all.
So ready yourselves, my friends, for a journey from birth to death, and back to birth again. If it doesn’t blow your mind, you may want to stick a cue tip REAL DEEP in your ear to make sure you still have one.
Afterall, You could be dead and not even know it….
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