I was on the Gaspar Noe boat after seeing Irreversible, but after seeing Enter The Void — a visually over-indulged and thoroughly sleazy after-death fantasy film — I’m totally off it until further notice. I’ll always admire Noe for being the go-for-broke provocateur — intensely opposed to typical shooting and cutting modes, pushing the boundaries as it were — but provocation in and of itself can get very old, especially when there’s next to no story being told and the characters are spiritually empty, pill-popping nowhere heads.
Noe has used, in these two films, an audacious, swirlygig crazy-bold shooting style. The camera rises and rotates and floats along and around, watching characters dealing or doing drugs and having sex (lots of that) from above, and flying over roofs and passing through walls and diving into gross toilets and bullet holes and squishy vaginas. But this camera language, if you will, is wildly undisciplined and grows tedious very quickly. Yes, it plays the visual panache card like few others films or filmmakers have ever dared or dreamed. But it’s essentially masturbatory.
I am going to take my time seeing the next Gaspar Noe film — that’s a promise. He’s no longer a must-see filmmaker.
Enter The Void is basically about the spirit wanderings of Oscar (Nathaniel Brown), a youngish kid who get shot to death inside a grimy toilet stall in a Tokyo club called The Void. His reason for lingering on earth is a pledge made to his sister Linda (Paz de la Huerta), a stripper/faux-prostitute whom he’s been living with in Tokyo, that they would never part, “no matter what.” So he floats and hovers over the people and places he knew in life.
But it all adds up to zip except for the initial intrigue of taking a ride with Noe’s camera, although that intrigue, as stated, goes out the window after 20 or 30 minutes. And then it becomes its own hell. For 156 minutes. People who take ecstasy and snort coke are deathly boring.