Gaspar Noé’s Enter The Void [Sundance 2010]

Enter The Void was on the top of my list for movies to watch in Park City. So when I got to the screening this morning, was anticipating a lot of like minded bloggers to also be excited for this movie. But much to my chagrin, the press screening was less than half full. Maybe bloggers and film journalist used the 1pm screening time for interviews and as work catch up time. Maybe since this movie already played at The Toronto Film Festival and The London Film Festival last year, bloggers didn’t really feel a need to cover it. Besides it got mixed reviews at both festivals. Or maybe it was its 2 and a half running time that turned this press screening into a ghost town. Nevertheless, I was still excited. Gaspar Noé is one of my favorite filmmakers and I was definitely curious to see his follow-up to his 2002 film, Irreversible. And let me say, Enter The Void is exactly the type of film that could follow Irreversible.

The opening sequence alone was a feast for the eyes and senses. The sensation of having a seizure was captured so well by Noé! I’d imagine a disclaimer at the beginning of the film, warning the audience of the intensity of this film and its opening title sequence. This was nothing less than a mind fuck for the eyes. This sequence of words and pictures only lasted 3 minutes but warranted cheers from the Sundance press.

The film follows the journey of Oscar, an American transplant living in Tokyo. Oscar is a drug dealer. His sister Linda wants him go stop dealing drugs and do something more. He gets a call for a deal which he doesn’t want to do but does so as a favor. While on the drug deal, he is sold out by the buyer. The police storm the club where the deal was going down and kill Oscar. The whole movie is now spent in Oscar’s waking life. Drifting from the real world and the spirit world between time and space, Gaspar Noé creates a world so gritty and real you can’t help but feel a little dirty after watching this film.

The story has a simple premise: wonder the world until reincarnation. This in relation to The Tibetan Book of The Dead. It’s what Noé does with the moments from scene to scene that make this film so interesting. Long camera shots married with drifting, almost dreamlike movement, is what is making this film the most talked about film playing at Sundance this year. Noé isn’t afraid to be daring and bold. Enter The Void is wonderful, shocking, beautiful, dull, boring and a thrill ride; all at the same time. Not many filmmakers can capture moods and tones that range so far and so effectively. Gaspar Noé’s is a gem in modern filmmaking and storytelling. A must see for anyone who loves the films in The Criterion Collection.