Enter The Void (18)

Film image

The ViewBirmingham Review

Review byMatthew Turner27/09/2010

Five out of Five stars
Running time: 140 mins

Brilliantly directed and superbly conceived, Enter the Void is an astonishing technical achievement that packs an unexpectedly powerful emotional punch – it's also one of the best films of the year.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by Gaspar Noe (who made the controversial reverse-order rape-and-revenge drama Irreversible), Enter the Void is told entirely from the point of view of Oscar (Nathaniel Brown), a young American living in Tokyo, who lives with his sister Linda (Paz de la Huerta) and engages in shady drug deals with his friends Alex (Cyril Roy) and Victor (Olly Alexander). On their way to a nightclub called The Void, Oscar and Alex have a lengthy, real-time conversation about reincarnation and The Tibetan Book of the Dead, a conversation that will be Important For Later.

While meeting Victor at The Void, Oscar is ambushed by cops and shot, whereupon he dies on the toilet floor and his consciousness leaves his body. Floating out into the night, Oscar's spirit continues to watch over Linda (who works as an erotic dancer and is in a relationship with the club owner) and Alex, while also flashing back to past events, such as the traumatic death of his parents and an ill-advised affair with Victor's mum (Sarah Stockbridge).

The Good
Enter the Void is an astonishing technical achievement, not least because the film appears to unfold as if the entire thing were shot in a single take. Consequently, the way the camera continually swoops over rooftops and through various objects (including people's heads, windows, a plughole, a bullet wound and even a vagina) is impressive enough, but the fact that the flashback sequences also unfold organically is utterly breathtaking.

Noe clearly hasn't lost his appetite for controversy and the film duly features cumshots, explicit sex scenes and a swooping close-up of an aborted foetus. That said, these elements never feel exploitative and are ultimately justified, given the film's preoccupation with the circle-of-life theme, all of which pays off in an unexpectedly powerful climax that's both thought-provoking and deeply moving.

The Great
The performances are fine, particularly Emily Alyn Lind, who's genuinely heartbreaking as young Linda. There are also several intriguing parallels to 2001: A Space Odyssey (an acknowledged influence), not least the trippy drugs sequence at the beginning and the whole reincarnation element.

Worth seeing?
Put simply, Enter the Void is nothing short of a masterpiece. Unmissable.

Film Trailer

Enter The Void (18)
Enter The Void has been reviewed by 1 users
01 Focus (15)

Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Rodrigo Santoro

02 Selma (12A)

David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tim Roth

03 Far from the Madding Crowd (tbc)

Carey Mulligan, Tom Sturridge, Matthias Schoenaert...

04 Chappie (tbc)

Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver, Sharlto Copley

05 A Most Violent Year (15)

Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain, David Oyelowo

Content updated: 21/09/2018 23:10

Latest Film Reviews

Film Blog

Urban Pundit

Keep up to date with everything in film and cinema at Urban Pundit, the exciting new blog.

Film of the Week

The Conjuring (15)

Hugely enjoyable, genuinely scary horror flick that provides a welcome throwback to classic 1970s chillers, thanks to impeccable production design, a superb script, powerfully atmospheric direction, intense set-pieces and terrific performances.

Latest Close Up

Noah Baumbach Interview

The Frances Ha director discusses co-writing the script with Greta Gerwig, shooting against the backdrop of New York and the real lives of the city’s people, Greta Gerwig’s performance, the music in the film and the picture's visual style.