Enter The Void
It is difficult to describe Enter The Void in words because the film is completely about the visuals, which results in more of an experience than a traditional film. It will likely be unlike anything else that you have seen before. However, you should know going in, it is not an easy film to watch. The long run-time of 161 minutes is mostly comprised of incredibly vivid flashing colors and shot mostly in subjective camera (from the point of view of the main character), which makes watching this visual work of art overwhelming at times.
Unlike the visuals, the storyline itself is not very complex. A drug dealer named Oscar (Nathaniel Brown) lives in Japan with his sister Linda. The two made a pact to never leave each other as children and have been living together since their parents died in a car crash. At the beginning of Enter The Void, we see Oscar using a drug called DMT (which is said to have a similar experience as death), because of his interest in the “Tibetan Book Of The Dead”. In what was thought to be a routine drug exchange with a friend, Oscar finds himself trying to escape from the local police after he discovers it is a setup. He manages to lock himself in a bathroom where he tries to flush the drug evidence down the drain. The police become impatient and shoot him through the door. He then reappears as a ghost to watch over his sister for the remainder of the film.
The camera work and CGI are unbelievably well done and deserves every bit of recognition it has received, if not more. Over 100 graphic artists were used to create the effects on the film. Every single scene was digitally altered to include the CGI. The end result is a beautiful film with lots of vibrant strobe neon lights and unorthodox camera techniques. A great example of this is at the very beginning when the subjective camera view is in play. When the character blinks, the screen goes dark for a frame or two, mimicking the effect of seeing exactly what the character does.
Enter The Void is one long psychedelic trip. I almost feel like I did a dis-service to it watching it sober, but the film does such a good job of making you feel like you are on the drugs the characters are on. However, if you suffer from epilepsy you may not want to watch this, it has constant flashes of bright colors that could be dangerous.
The story does not really start picking up until about an hour in. So the film as a whole moves too slow and is unnecessarily long for how little of a plot there actually is. It does not help that most scenes are not real time but more like half speed. The slow moving transition between scenes is very unique, but ultimately becomes overused and repetitive. After a while this effect starts to become frustrating.
If you are looking for a visual cinema experience that you most likely have never had before, look no further than Enter The Void. Gaspar Noe sends you on a psychedelic trip that can really only be described as superbly unique. But know what it demands dedication as a viewer to sit through the entire film.