- Running time:
- 162 minutes
- Nathaniel Brown -
- Paz de la Huerta -
- Cyril Roy -
- Emily Alyn Lind -
- Little Linda
- Jesse Kuhn -
- Little Oscar
Small time drug dealer Oscar (Nathaniel Brown) recently reunited with his sister, Linda (Paz de la Huerta), in Tokyo. They’ve had a special bond since they were orphaned as kids, but their blissful reunion is short-lived. She becomes a stripper to pay the bills, and he’s shot and killed in a bust gone wrong. Oscar’s spirit leaves his body to float through both the city and his own memories, observing and revealing the story of his youth, his time in Tokyo and what happens to Linda when he’s gone.
The buzz: French filmmaker Gaspar Noé fancies himself one of cinema’s great rebels—his last film, 2002’s smug and brutal “Irreversible,” featured graphic violence and nudity as well as an infamous nine-minute single-take rape sequence. The comparatively tamer “Enter the Void” premiered at last year’s Cannes Film Festival to Noé’s usual divisive reviews, but he always said it was a work in progress and subsequently trimmed the running time for theatrical release. Stylistically, the film is certainly unique. It’s equally inspired by the 1947 film “Lady in the Lake,” where the camera shoots entirely from the main character’s point of view, and psychedelic drugs. There are more strobe and light effects here than “2001: A Space Odyssey.”
The verdict: “Enter the Void” is exactly the sort of art film mainstream audiences loath for its pretentious self-importance and alienating affectations. There’s no denying Noé has strong command of the cinematic medium, he simply uses it for childish philosophizing (“the world is a scary place!”) and immature shock tactics (a graphic car accident; an up close look at Linda’s abortion; and his pièce de résistance: special effects that simulate sex viewed from inside a woman’s body). Don’t bother looking for a narrative—the story is so idiotic and the acting so subpar that if the movie was told straight it would be laughed off the screen. Noé is simply interested in the sensory experience and if you can overlook everything else, there’s a perverse integrity in the formal tricks he pulls off. “Enter the Void” tries to be bold and different. It succeeds up to a point, but the overall effect is tedious when it should be hypnotic.
Did you know? The film peaks with its inventive credits sequence—a rapid-fire, seizure-inducing mix of flashing colors and techno that has very little resemblance to what actually follows. You can see the opening for yourself online.
Movie theaters and showtimes for Enter the Void in Louisville.
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