Enter the Void (2009) is a story centered on siblings Oscar and Linda about sex, drugs, death and birth, and more sex. Although not an altogether ‘great’ film, it certainly forges a novel vector in cinema. It’s presented as a sort of stream of consciousness, or more aptly stream of camera-ness, and is a technical amazement. The filmmaker Gaspar Noé certainly has an idea what he’s doing.
As I stated, Enter the Void is not a great film — the storytelling elements don’t support the film’s vision. But at least the film has a vision — more than one can say for most efforts out there. Besides occupying its own unique space, the movie’s dream-like state carries a spare but firm narrative about love and tragedy that I found compelling.
In “Enter the Void” the camera soars above the world like a bird, like a kite, like a ghost. It moves with smooth, gentle motions and seemingly indecisive purpose, passing through walls, drifting over alleys and climbing high above the roofs of a nighttime city agleam in jeweled color. At times it hovers next to one of the city’s inhabitants like an angel or a threat. Occasionally it even appears to take up temporary residence in someone’s head — dive-bombing toward the back of a skull like a blow — so that it (and we) can see the world directly from another point of view: This is your brain. This is your brain on a Gaspar Noé movie.
Early in the film, Oscar faces an Oscar Pistorius moment — he gets shot through the door of a restroom by the police — which never would happen in a million years. This early death is precedent for the entire movie, and though I let go my incredulity after a bit, it bothered me for too long. As a movie fan, I’m very glad I watched Enter the Void. If this scene had been handled better, I’d rate a 7, but as it is, 6/10.
* * *