Friday, September 17, 2010

Death as the Ultimate Trip

Enter the Void (2009) - Noé
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Quite possibly the worst film I've seen in a long time. I'm not saying this because the film is hard-to-take in a typical ugly-side-of-the-humanity, 'Gaspar Noé way' but because it's so painfully boring.

Obviously Noé was going for the psychedelic visual masterpiece á la 2001 Space Odyssey ditching the narrative in the gutter, since the plot is so insipid it had to be intentional- it reminded me of the worst of boy filmmakers' (Luc Besson and Danny Boyle) work, if they ever made R rated films: Oscar (Nathaniel Brown) is a small time druggie/dealer in Japan who gets killed by the police and spend the rest of the movie floating around watching over his beloved younger sister Lisa (Paz de la Huerta), a stripper, until he is conceived (graphically) and reincarnated again.

Acting is unbearable- two male lead (non actors) are horrendous and de la Huerta again proves she is nothing more than a hot body. In an interview that came with the press kit, Noe talks about wanting to do a film in Japan for a long time because it's so fascinating and since Tokyo is THE city of neon lights. Funny, because in his hands, Tokyo becomes the dullest city in the world.

He really tries hard to invite the audience to FEEL the movie with the first 20 minutes with continuous POV shots, then after Oscar's death, over the shoulder shots of him from his childhood till his death (again!), then overhead crane shots for the rest of the film. The problem is this: The CGI enhanced visuals are at first somewhat impressive. But then it goes on forever, repeating the same boring overhead gliding-over again and again. When the camera descends into and out of various holes and lighting fixtures for the umpteenth time, you feel like you are sitting in a personal cinematic hell. There is really no point looking at your watch anymore- it is purgatory. Fitting. But I'm pretty sure this isn't what Noé intended.

It really does not have that hypnotic power they intended at all. It's worse than blurry visual clusterfuck of Michael Bay action sequence. Noé probably thought he was making a Kubrick but ends up with Transformers painted with Day-Glo. I honestly think 3D is a perfect match for him. If you are still curious about this film, I strongly advise you against seeing it sober.

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