Enter The Void (18)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

StarStarStarStarStar
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
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Content updated: 13/12/2017 09:22

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