Saturday, December 18, 2010

Enter the Void--a review

I watched this movie in at the new Beverly Theater, at an almost sold out show. This means strangers, film LA buffs more specifically, were squirming arm and arm even as the film began with the credits.

Then the neon lights of Tokyo shone and maintained the glowing consistency throughout the perspective of Oscar, an early twentyish drug dealer obsessed with death and a drug (DMT) that simulates it with hallucinogenic side-effects.

Soon Oscar gets in over his head with the Tokyo police and gets shot through a bathroom door during a drug raid set-up. It's at this moment that his spirit exits his body and floats in a trippy-voyeur perspective, following his stripper sister, through her trysts with her nightclub manager boyfriend, flashing back to childhood before the children became estranged from their parents after a brutal car accident, right back to the shallow past when the two became reacquainted in Tokyo, into the present again. Oscar's essence is now in an emotionless limbo, reflecting, retracing, trying to find his way to solidify the pact he made to his sister: to protect her always, even through death.

Though the narrative presents itself as being justified, the film has a life of its own without it. The narrative is trivial. More importantly, the film is a showcase of mind-blowing camera angles, jolts of violence surrounded by detonating implants of TNT for the psyche. Light tunnels shrink pupils of the viewer sporadically in scenes demonstrating the lure of "the light" and a spirit's attempted resistance to it to carry on in the physical realm.

Gratuitous sex scenes are dispersed generously, and especially at the end before a graphic coital scene illustrating procreation from within, the detailed process of creating life, where the climax, is an actual climax. 

In one respect, when the film was over, I couldn't help but overhear frazzled movie-goers complain about Noe's arrogance as a filmmaker. This made me sympathize with the director. Sure, the film was incredibly masturbatory, employing such visceral techniques must obviously have a way of of stimulating the artist, more than it's meant to cater to any of many subjective viewers, but that doesn't necessitate the regard of Noe showing off, as much as his exercising his right to make high art, as his will intends, edited with the precise outcome with which he intended.

Noe has exercised tedious techniques involving psychological explosions of detail, and creative manipulation into a one-of-a-kind vessel, which can be compared to any hyper-visual, hyper-sexual, druggie themed, neo-realistic, human hatefest which has ever existed, true. But he's also made his mark as a filmmaker with Enter the Void, and if infamy is what what he's after, then he's one step closer with this film, to make infamy anything but moot.


Anonymous said...

I agree said...

good review. my favorite shot was Oscar dealing in a club under the strobe lights. It was wild like he was on another planet.

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