Enter the Void DVD Review - www.impulsegamer.com -
Enter the Void
Reviewed by
Simon Black
on
Enter the Void DVD Review Ultimately however this is one high-concept neon nightmare that fails to satisfy either filmically or philosophically. 
Rating:
2.75

Feature 6.0
Video 8.0
Audio 7.0
Special features   0.0
Total 5.5
Distributor: Transmission
Running Time: 137
Reviewer: Simon Black
Classification
: R18+

5.5


Enter the Void

Doggedly unconventional French auteur Gaspar Noé has never been one to pander to the mainstream, and his previous films have engendered controversy and polarised audiences in a manner that has, on occasion, reached fever pitch. 

Noé’s previous film Irreversible (2002) was described by Roger Ebert as ‘so violent and cruel most people will be unable to watch it’ and became infamous for its sequences of sheer brutality, which included a 9-minute rape scene - during the screening of the film I attended at the Valhalla in Sydney at least half the audience walked out during this scene, one man disgustedly uttering the words ‘this is sick’ as he did so.  Noé’s penchant for laying bare the ugliness and futility of existence, as he seems to see it, also manifests itself in some truly appalling dialogue being spouted from the mouths of his frequently grotesque filmic creations, from the homophobic vitriol of Irreversible to a not-atypical exchange in I Stand Alone in which the lead character informs the pregnant woman he has just viciously and repeatedly punched in the stomach that he has ‘turned her baby into hamburger meat.’ 

His latest film is Enter the Void, an intensely personal pet project a number of years in the making, and once more Noé’s wilful, seemingly deep-seated psychic need to sow distemper and unease amongst the filmgoing masses is prominently on display.  The end result has been called everything from stunning to soporific, and, for my money, manages simultaneously to be both.  At almost two and a half hours it is overlong, alternately tedious and sublime, a radiant, hypnotic, psychedelic cornucopia of shifting-consciousness imagery and mumbled dialogue that follows the out of body experiences of a small time Tokyo drug dealer in the hours following his death. 

Using complicated crane shots, lavish CGI and the strobe and white light effects so beloved of its director, Enter the Void conjures up a first-person depiction of a soul’s immediate post-life journey in which delirium and disorientation co-mingle in a kaleidoscopic pot pourri of magic mushroom inspired imagery.  We follow the newly-deceased Oscar as he floats about in the air of above Tokyo’s streets, melds his perspective with that of his sister, spies on family and friends and revisits moments from his own past, including his own birth, no less. 

In typical Noé fashion nothing is spared the viewer’s attention; a blood-smeared aborted foetus rests on a kidney dish, Oscar’s soul dwells momentarily inside his own sister’s vagina as she has sex with one of his friends, and so on.  It is this juvenile propensity towards needing to be shocking for its own sake that keeps Enter the Void from being the sublime, moving and potent dissection of life after life that it could have been, in addition to a number of sequences that border on the pretentious and, as mentioned, its exorbitant running time. 

The film certainly had its fans: The Guardian awarded it five out of five stars and many other reviewers commented favourably on its visceral and hallucinatory visual sense.  Ultimately however this is one high-concept neon nightmare that fails to satisfy either filmically or philosophically. 

Bonus Features

None.  The local edition also features the 137-minute cut only, in contrast with most overseas releases which feature either the extended 161-minute (NTSC) cut, or both versions of the film on one disc.






 
 



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