Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Void Has Been Entered

As many regular readers know, I am a huge fan of Gaspar Noe.  He is my favorite director period. I Stand Alone and Irreversible were brilliant cinematic pieces that were emotionally brutal and among the best films ever made.  As to be expected, I was looking very forward to Enter the Void.

I bought it as soon as I could, but waited to see it with Girl.  Special movie.  Special company.  It didn't matter that I had a splitting headache (in hindsight, it was a bad idea seeing it in that frame of mind).  I had waited far too many weeks for this.

The film is good.  Visually it is unlike anything ever seen before.  In time, this will become one of those "drug movies" (if it's not already at that place in cinematic cultdom).  It is an ambitious story, too, the likes of which is hard to pull off.  Had any other director attempted it, he or she would've failed.  That said, it is my least favorite of his films.

My first problem is with the length.  At around two hours and twenty minutes, it is way too long.  I know Noe is setting the mood, but there are some scenes that could have been cut in time with zero impact on the film. 

Then there is the fact that this movie did not grab me the way his other films have.  There are great, terrifying, tense scenes, but nothing gave me that kick in the stomach feeling that was standard with I Stand Alone and Irreversible.  Perhaps that is because we never get to really know Oscar.  Shot entirely from Oscar's perspective, the camera is the character, and therefore we don't get any real insight on him.  He reacts to every other character the same way.  It makes it hard to care for him.  Of course, that means most of our emotional currency is put on his sister ... and she is fairly one-dimensional, too.

There are Noe touches throughout the film.  Tunnel shots.  A camera that acts as if it is caught in a breeze.  The touches are purely cinematography related, however.  The story could've been done by anyone.  Not everyone could've pulled it off, though.

It may sound like I am utterly disappointed with the film.  I am not.  It truly is an amazing piece of art the likes of which has never been seen before and most likely will never be seen again.  Just look at these opening credits.  Hell, I've never seen something like this.

Enter The Void is a ground breaking film.  It is an important film.  It's just not Noe's best film.  Had I a chance, I would've watched it again today.  As it stands, I will take it in again soon ... without the headache.  I don't think my opinion will change much, but I know I missed something ... and those visuals were just too damn cool.


  1. My favorite Noe film is I Stand Alone, although the opening scenes of Irreversible put it at a close second. Enter the Void was not nearly as an emotional piece, if thats even the right term. I enjoyed it and the visuals were impresive but, like you said, the characters lacked depth. I didn't feel any attachment to them or care so much about what happened to them. I think that I need to see it again though, I'm sure that I missed or misinterpreted some scenes at the end.