Enter the Void. If you haven’t seen this movie you’re crazy man, you’re crazy. Enter the Void is a rather new movie so you won’t see it on any lists of “classics” and probably not on Ebert’s “great movies” list. You’re more likely to hear about it from a drug dealer, a crazed artist, or Quentin Tarantino. Enter the Void is about drugs, politics, lust, the feeling of being alone in a foreign land, and the trip you take after death according to the Tibetan book of the dead.
Enter if you dare.
Just so you know the sort of thing you are getting into, let me share with you the opening credits to Enter the Void.Please enter the url to a YouTube video.
Yeah. Buckle up.
This is a French film, but no worries if you hate subtitles, because the characters speak English. And to be honest, once you get to a certain point of the film no amount of subtitles would be able to guide you anyways.
The main character, Oscar, lives in Tokyo and promptly begins the movie by taking DMT, having an out-of-body experience, and we the viewer are subjected to one of the most amazing and horrifying hallucinations brought to the silver screen realistically. Unfortunately for Oscar, he is jolted from his trip by Victor, his so-called “friend”, and his buddy Alex arrives to escort him through the streets of Tokyo. They discuss the Tibetan Book of the Dead, and we the viewer are forced into the eyes of Oscar who is still tripping, and see how isolated he really feels. Without spoiling anything, shit happens and the rest of the movie becomes what the director refers to as a “psychedelic melodrama”.
Why should you see this movie?
1) The imagery in this movie is incredible.
This movie achieves one of the most believable scenes of drug usage I’ve ever seen in a movie. That is meant as a compliment, because the scene I speak of is breathtaking. But outside of the drug use, you will be jettisoned through Tokyo in varying degrees to see all its glory and all its hideousness. Enter the Void’s imagery is so good it is almost at fault for it. Before the movie ends you will have most likely gotten lost in the visuals and forgotten what is going on, but by the end it will tightly wrap it all back into itself. Plus, Marc Caro has a stunning sense of art direction and Enter the Void is no exception.
2) Do you happen to like Freud?
Enter the Void deals with many simple, yet very taboo and provoking relationships. You will meet all of the characters early on, but you won’t understand their complicated relationships until you weave through this maze of a movie and put two and two together. Shallow characters become deep and deep characters become shallow in a continuous alternation. Gaspar Noe directed this film and he knew from the get go he was going to be alienating himself from a large audience the second it came out, so I commend him on putting the message and art first before the need for Enter the Void to be a “box-office smash hit”.
3) It’s something new. It’s not a remake. It’s taking a risk.
It’s easy to become jaded with film today as we continue to recycle the same stories, update classics with new HD graphics, and churn out ninety minute popcorn flicks that satisfy us for minutes and lack anything substantial to think about afterwards. Inception blew people away at the box office, due to its execution, top billing, and the strange concept of a dream within a dream (within a dream, within a dream hehe). It was something new, and we ate it up, but it had just enough commercial appeal for it to not be dangerous. Enter the Void is not Inception. It does not have mass commercial appeal. But it is still good and it’s good in a way that most movies have forgotten how to be. It wants to tell a new story and move us at the same time. Enter the Void challenges much of what we take for granted, and although it doesn’t always succeed, it succeeds where it counts.
4) From a technical standpoint, much of the camera work is mind-blowing.
Complicated crane set-ups, helicopters, CGI, and studio trickery were all used to create Oscar’s flying scenes and were done with such a dedication that it’s near impossible to tell what is real and what is CGI. Gaspar Noe has an aversion to using artificial lighting, so much of the film was done with practicals, simply using Tokyo’s neon street lights as their own lighting, giving the camera work free-reign to move in ways impossible otherwise. If you don’t work on film this may not mean much at all to you, but know that Kubrick’s 2001 A Space Odyssey also had a similar dedication to camera work and it’s influence is obvious in Enter the Void. This movie may have layers of meaning and a real artistic flare, but that doesn’t keep it from having a real understanding of the tools at its disposal.
So that’s it folks. Go watch Enter the Void when you have a couple of hours to spare. You may love it or hate it, but you need to see it to believe it.