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The Best of 2010/Honorable Mention: 'Enter the Void'

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Enter the Void


It has been a long while since I have seen a film this visually mindblowing. Enter the Void is a cinematic marvel when it comes to camera technique, first person perspective, and exploration of landscape. It is no different than the innovative spectacle of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey back in 1968. The entire story is told from the point of view of a man living in Tokyo. He is very happy to have his sister living with him due to being separated for a long time since kids; a key plot point that the audience discovers over time.

We discover all of this through a very ingenious and intriguing medium: the man dies and his spirit stays overlooking the people he loves. Before his accidental murder, the man is a drug peddler who, out of desperation, works this job in order to bring his sister from the States to Japan (he is sadly failing at his ability to protect her over time due to her own desperations). The man’s best friend, at one point, discusses the idea of what it is like to die and how the ‘outer body experience’ works according to Buddhist beliefs. When the time finally comes, the camera floats above the main character (interrupted by strange ambiguous flashes of light—something that is foreshadowed earlier by the man’s drug trips) and then proceeds to fly through walls and above the city in almost all uninterrupted shots. The man’s life story is continued by those who question, suffer, mourn, and reminisce about him over the next few months and possible years. He witnesses all the mistakes made after his death and all the events done to bring closure to his death. The film is not without some faults though.

Director Gaspar Noé obviously has taken notes from Oscar-winning Michael Cimino (The Deer Hunter, Year of the Dragon) to make things as slow as real-time/life. There are a couple of sex scenes that go on for what feels like 10 minutes, but like 2001: A Space Odyssey, you can forgive it for its pacing since it leaves you with a lasting impression when it’s over.