Every so often a truly unique and visionary film comes along, and gives viewers something authentically newto look at. Enter the Void, written and directed by Gaspar Noé, is one such film. This motion picture captures the psychedelic experience in ways that previous films have only attempted, and also tells a gripping human drama that unfolds in a truly unconventional manner. In this film, he has created a surrealist and avant garde masterpiece of modern cinema that is, in many ways, unrivaled. While the film does have some weaknesses, it was so visually stunning and emotionally powerful that it gripped my consciousness for many days. Even a couple of weeks later, I’m still thinking about it. Few films have such a profound effect upon me.
From the moment of the opening credits, the viewer of this film knows that it is no ordinary film. The credits themselves are visually jarring and intense, with flashing, multicolored presentation.
The film opens with the main character, Oscar, smoking a bowl of DMT and beginning a psychedelic experience. The portrayal of his psychedelic vision is one of the most amazingly rendered displays of psychedelic visionary experience ever produced in film. It truly captures the odd, organic, electric and bizarre unfolding patterns seen in the mind during a psychedelic “trip.” Though perhaps not as intense as the DMT experience can be, it presents a fairly realistic picture of the types of visual and auditory patterns experienced by a psychedelic traveler. For this scene alone, the film can be seen as a unique and masterful picture.
The story moves on to a brief introduction to the main characters. Oscar is a drug-dealing, psychedelic-taking young man living in Tokyo, having been orphaned many years earlier. Alex is Oscar’s best friend in Tokyo, and the one who helps him further his career as a drug dealer. Linda is Oscar’s sister, from whom he has been separated since they were orphaned in childhood, though he has brought her to Tokyo after her eighteenth birthday.
This introductory sequence is shown entirely from the perspective of Oscar, whom the audience sees only in reflections. This use of a first-person perspective creates a truly haunting experience as Oscar moves about the city in a quest to get high and move his drugs. Eventually, he arrives at his destination to sell his product, and it turns out to be a drug bust. He escapes into a bathroom stall, and begins flushing the drug stash, but when he tells the police he has a gun, they shoot him dead through the stall door.
Oscar’s consciousness then departs from his lifeless corpse, and begins to float about the world, moving backward and forward in time, and depicting a telling of the famous The Tibetan Book of the Dead. Noé takes the camera through walls, over rooftops, into the upper atmosphere, and on a joyride through time and space that appears seamlessly woven together from the viewer’s (Oscar’s) perspective.
I could go on about the rest of the film, but don’t want to spoil any of the delightful surprises that populate this unique film. I recommend it highly. My only negative comment would be that I found the ultimate ending a bit predictable. I realized how it would end just a few minutes after Oscar dies at the beginning of the film. While the predictability of the ending is a bit unfortunate, it barely makes a difference in the overall quality of the movie.
The film takes the viewer through some truly disturbing and emotionally gripping human drama, and through some of the most psychedelic scenes ever committed to film. It also contains one of the most visionary and tantric sex scenes ever created, capturing the energy of sex in a way I’ve never seen in cinema before.
If you want a thoroughly satisfying, psychedelic, sexy, mind-bending experience in a motion picture, rush to see Enter the Void by Gaspar Noé.