wish I could sit down with you, hold your hand and say this very slowly, sweetly and serenely as possible: “watch this film.” But you shouldn’t. This is a Gaspar Noé film you are about to see. Over the past decade, his first two feature films “I Stand Alone” (1998) and “Irreversible” (2004), still strip, sodomize and scandalize the cinematic frontier. Now his latest treatment of innate human debasement and sexual depravity, “Enter The Void,” steps the narrative fiction onto a new level.
According to Noé, “Enter The Void,” is a “psychedelic melodrama.” Throughout the film we experience the life, after life and the memories through the first person point-of-view of small-time drug peddler Oscar (played by Nathaniel Brown), as he tries to lead a life with his sister, Linda (debut role of Paz de la Huerta), in Tokyo. We become Oscar’s heart, his mind and his soul. Innovative cinematographer Beniot Debie (Irreversible) returns as he takes the audience on an outer body experience, constantly looking down on the story’s action like a ghost, whirling from setting to setting.
This tamed example of perturbed but Freudian decadence is one of many scenes that corrupt your conscience throughout “Enter The Void.” Noé, a French extremist of cinema, personifies brighter than the neon lights of a wonder-lust Tokyo, everything that contorts human pleasures. He does not achieve this through banal shocking, like seen in many today’s grotesque horror films. At first impression his graphic bluntness can make you sick, but his constant disruption of innocence lost and never found makes you want to penetrate deeper into why he tries to make his characters as human as possible. Everything “Enter The Void” depicts is constantly based on reality. The possibility of these situations happening or the fact you may have experienced such an immoral situation in the past makes the film even more shattering. Furthermore, the fact that you cannot control the lives you loved before or after your death, but only to be a witness to their charging train wreck is heart-wrenching within itself. These concepts were explored in Noé’s earlier films, but it feels more provocative now because we are the character that experiences it.
I could list all the shock values of this film and suggest you waste your ten bucks on something more comfortably brain-dead, but deep down inside, I really do want you to be ravished by “Enter The Void.” I want you to have an epiphany about drug addiction. I want you to believe in reincarnation. Lastly, as Noé’s strobe light special effects hit you full blast, and the 3D neon colors scorch the back of your eyes, I want you to believe that this film is real. Your soul can exist in all these degenerates portrayed by Gaspar Noé, forever and ever.
“Enter The Void” is playing for limited time only at Landmark’s Bridge Theatre
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