Sundance Category: Spotlight
Director/screenwriter: Gaspar Noé
France, 2009, 156 min., color
Principle cast: Nathaniel Brown, Paz De La Huerta
I’ve never seen a Gaspar Noé film, but from what I understand and what I can conclude from watching Enter The Void, each of them is a brutal attack on the senses of the audience. A lot of people will say, “At least he’s trying,” or “You’ve got to respect him for his experimental techniques.” I say: No. He’s not trying – not trying to entertain, not trying to win the audience over. The only thing he’s trying to do is boost his ego, distance himself from everyone else and bombard you with his sick, twisted and disturbing mommy, sister and parenting issues.
After a long barrage of quick flashing neon title cards set to techno rave music, you quickly gather that the entire film Enter The Void is shot in the first-person perspective of lead character Oscar. Oscar and his sister Linda live in Tokyo, Japan. Oscar uses and deals heavy psychedelic drugs, Linda is a trashy stripper. On the way to visit his sister at work one night (I know – gross, right?), Oscar has an altercation with police that ends up with him being shot and killed. The film continues to follow Oscar’s perspective as his spirit/soul follows his sister, staying with her just like he always promised he would.
Despite not being much to explain, all of this takes more than 30 minutes to get to in the film. We’re mostly stuck watching Oscar carry on pointless rambling conversations with his druggie friends, check out his barely dressed sister and hallucinate screensaver-like trips. Everything about Enter The Void is overindulgent.
Once Oscar dies, the film loses all sense of direction and purpose. Not kidding, there are easily 30 plus minutes of the film dedicated to Oscar watching people – including his own sister – have sex. And I’m not talking just sex, we’re talking all caps SEX. Enter The Void captures shots that are reserved solely for porno films – shots that leave you certain that the actors you just saw were truly in the act of having sex. I don’t care what your film is about or the message you’re trying to share, there’s a point where it’s completely unnecessary and perverted. Enter The Void crosses that line, then sits down to have a filthy picnic on the other side. It’s makes sex gross. Thanks Noé.
To avoid ranting, let me conclude with a list of things that Enter The Void does that earns it zero stars: showing an aborting, showing multiple close-ups of an aborted fetus, showing a character entering the mind of the man having sex with his sister, showing a grown man obsessing over his mother and her naked body (multiple times, including an adult desire to breast feed off his mother’s teat), showing gratuitous graphic sex and a repetitive act of obscene violence, never ending, boring, constant flashing lights (so much so that the film should warn audiences suffering from epilepsy), showing what sex looks like from the inside of the female body, etc.
The point is: don’t ever ever ever see Enter The Void. Seriously. Never.