Enter the Void (2009)


Director: Gaspar Noe

Stars: Nathaniel Brown, Paz de la Huerta, Cyril Roy

The greatest visual experience I have ever had

I saw this last night and I’m pretty sure that I’m still tripping! Enter the Void confirms Gaspar Noe as a true talent and artist. He does things here which I didn’t know were even possible in film. The camera-work is mesmerising, entrancing and unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It has to be the greatest film I’ve ever seen on a visual level.


The title sequence was absolutely amazing and completely sets the tone for the film. We’re then plunged into the POV of an American man in Tokyo. It becomes dizzying (in a good way) and when he starts smoking those drugs I was completely under Noes spell. It’s intoxicating filmmaking at its most hypnotic.

The visuals only become more intense as the film goes on with Noe’s now signature stroboscopic effects which is enough to put anyone in a trance! The way the camera seamlessly floats is just extraordinary. Most of the scenes are done in one shot, like Irreversible, which adds an extra level of intensity. Towards the end, the camera casually soars through the clouds and we go inside an aeroplane, only to plummet back down to the grimy inner-city of Tokyo. It’s beautiful, fluid and doesn’t feel forced. It’s a film you just have to immerse yourself in (preferably on a big screen) and go with.


Gaspar’s film isn’t just about the visuals though. There is a compelling story there too which dominates the first half. The film tells the Oscar’s life story leading up to his death. It’s a fascinating watch and very absorbing. Unfortunately after we’ve covered all of this, we’re only halfway through the film which is an exhausting 2 hours and 40 minutes (I saw the directors cut) and so the story began to falter for me. It just wasn’t engaging enough to carry on for another 90 minutes, although the visuals were still spectacular.

Enter the Void reminded me very much of a David Lynch film. You have to immerse yourself in the world of the film and allow yourself to become suffocated by the truly extraordinary camera-work. If there was any justice then Gaspar Noe really should’ve won a best director academy award for this film, but alas this is far too edgy for the academy. Gaspar really pushes the boundaries of what can be done on screen. He knocks it way out of the ball park and hits the stratosphere! I found the pornographic scenes a little unnecessary, although the camera-work in the ‘Love’ hotel was so hypnotic it doesn’t really matter. I didn’t like it as much as Irreversible though, and I think it would’ve been better if the film had been edited down a considerable amount to create more impact. However, Enter the Void is an extraordinary experience and is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. The only film I can compare it to is David Lynch’s masterpiece, Inland Empire, as it matches the dreamlike quality.


Enter the Void is a full on assault on the senses which has to be seen to be believed. I have no idea why no one talked about it when it was released because it feels so ahead of its time. The neon-soaked cinematography is as stunning as Only God Forgives. The film just needed a stronger story in order for it to justify its long running time. The acting was a little wooden too unfortunately. Still, this is a brilliant and seriously unique experience which confirms Noe as a true artist. We need more people as bold as him in the business!







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