Enter the Void

 (2009)

by Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

A junkie dies in a sleazy Tokyo dive, but he refuses to leave the world because he had made a childhood promise never to leave his sister. The film follows his soul as it floats from place to place in the filthy haunts of drug users and around the garish neon world of Tokyo's underbelly of erotic commerce. He watches over his sibling while his consciousness simultaneously regresses toward his childhood memories and even his own birth. Since his sister is a stripper who seems to have sex non-stop, he (therefore "we" in his P.O.V) spends most of his time watching her get laid, except for when he watches her get an abortion.

And that's about it.

Fire one up and break out the old kaleidoscope and lava lamps, man, because, like, the sixties are back, man. The film is self-consciously transgressive, self-consciously artistic, and painfully "psychedelic.'' The director is constantly in search of provocative and trippy new P.O.V. shots. For example, one scene finds the camera inside the sister's vagina, looking at the penis entering it. Another scene is a graphic representation of an abortion, complete with a spread-legged view, detailed medical procedures, and a bloody fetus. The film is filled with graphic sex and nudity. Unfortunately, it's not romantic, or even erotic. The locales are grimy, and there's no tenderness or real joy in the sex. It's just fucking.

As you might expect, opinions vary dramatically on the merit and appropriateness of this project, with evaluations running the full gamut from "leading-edge genius" to "pretentious and boring drivel."

If you read the following debate culled from seven different reviewers, you will certainly see that it is a love-it-or-hate-it kind of movie.

Ambitious, deeply mystic and provocative movie with earth-shattering FX

Billed by director Gaspar Noe as a "psychedelic melodrama" inspired by his hallucinogen-powered screening of "Lady in the Lake," "Enter the Void" suggests the Gallic provocateur should get some better drugs. Not clever enough to be truly pretentious, Noe's tiresomely gimmicky film about a low-level Tokyo drug dealer who enjoys one long, last trip after dying proves to be the ne plus ultra of nothing much.

At his best, Gaspar No is so far ahead of everyone else that Enter the Void remains an absolute must-see, as flawed and exhausting as it can be.

'Enter the Void' is like 'Ghost' without the romance, humor or suspense.

Gaspar No has followed up his 2002 Irreversible, an unwatchable exercise in provocation, with Enter the Void, an unbearable exercise in provocation.

Work of art or huge practical joke? Can't say, but you've never seen anything remotely like Enter the Void.

A visually creative but pointless assault on the senses that uses Freudian imagery to give the illusion of profundity in a tale designed to indulge an adolescent view of drugs and sex while satisfying a childish impulse to shock.

Which side of the debate am I on? Well, despite my distaste for Gasper Noe's films in general, I might have given this one a moderately positive review if it had been about 90 minutes long, but 160 minutes of death-on-acid death was way too much for me to bear.

Blu-Ray DVD

THE CRITICS AND ACADEMIES

60 Movie Intelligence (% positive)
71 Rotten Tomatoes  (% positive)
64 Metacritic.com (of 100)

It won a special jury prize and a cinematography award at the Calalonian Film Festival

THE PEOPLE

   
7.4 IMDB summary (of 10)
B Yahoo Movies

THE BOX OFFICE

Box Office Mojo. Mini-arthouse run. $300,000 in 10 theaters.

 

NUDITY REPORT

Paz de la Huerta, who is rapidly becoming the go-to gal for nudity in the contemporary film and TV world, shows everything that can be shown, including lying on her back with her legs spread for an abortion.

Sara Stockbridge (I guess) chips in with some breasts.

There are also various miscellaneous women and men in various stages of undress.

 

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Web www.scoopy.com

Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a:

C-

More watchable to a larger audience than some of Noe's other efforts, but way too long for its slim, high-concept premise.