Blu-Ray Review: Only Daring Should Apply to ‘Enter the Void’

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CHICAGO – Gaspar Noe’s “Enter the Void” is one hell of a trip. Unapologetically inspired by experiences with hallucinogens, the film is such a unique, bizarre, and memorable experience that one has to recommend it simply for its audacity. You’ve never seen anything quite like “Enter the Void” outside of anime. The uncut version released on Blu-ray is too bloated, running nearly three hours, but there’s so much to like here that the film’s flaws can be forgiven. Blu-Ray Rating: 3.5/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 3.5/5.0

From the very beginning, including a credit sequence that should have most viewers instantly mesmerized, “Enter the Void” is unique. Here’s all you really need to know — the film unfolds in first-person POV (with the occasional third-person, over-the-shoulder flashbacks) even after the lead character dies. That’s right. Death doesn’t stop “Enter the Void.” In fact, it’s kind of what it’s all about.

Enter the Void was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on January 25th, 2011
Enter the Void was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on January 25th, 2011
Photo credit: IFC Films

Maybe. Sorta. “Enter the Void” is one of those works either heavily open to interpretation or completely resistant to it, depending on how one approaches it. I imagine many will find it deep and philosophical while others will find it bloated and worthless. I’m kind of in the middle. The daring approach to storytelling in the film must be lauded but damn is it long, repetitive, and, ultimately, less interesting than Noe probably wanted. Visually, the movie is a stunner. The cinematography is fascinating and the legendary Marc Caro (“City of Lost Children”) handled the art direction, so it’s a wonder to look at, especially in HD, but I honestly became so numb to the actual story that I didn’t care shortly into hour two and it wasn’t even half over.

Enter the Void was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on January 25th, 2011
Enter the Void was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on January 25th, 2011
Photo credit: IFC Films

“Enter the Void” is a daring film but also a disappointing one. It’s the kind of work that’s so original that I’m tempted to watch it again so the tricks of the filmmaking can fade into the background more. It’s such a technical display that one never gets a firm grip on what Noe is trying to do thematically or philosophically. That is if he’s really trying to do anything at all. My concern is that “Enter the Void” is purely a technical exercise. Judged as such, it’s definitely interesting but not quite engaging.

“Controversial and brilliant director Gasper Noe follows his worldwide sensation Irreversible with another triumph. Enter The Void is Noe’s most assured and haunting film yet, a “head trip” a la Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and at the same time a piercing modern drama. Newcomer Nathaniel Brown and Paz de la Huerta (HBO’s Boardwalk Empire) star as a brother and sister trapped in the hellish nighttime world of Tokyo where he deals drugs and she works as a stripper.

A crime gone bad leads to shocking violence and then moments of transcendence in which the movie plunges viewers into death and rebirth like no film has ever done before via “mesmerizing camerawork” (The New York Times) that make it “a dazzling and brutal exercise in cinematic envelope-pushing” (New York Post). Stunning audiences around the world, Enter The Void is a cinematic experience like no other.”

Special Features:
o Deleted Scenes
o Teasers
o Theatrical Trailers
o U.S. Trailer
o Unused Trailers
o Vortex
o Posters

“Enter the Void” stars Nathaniel Brown, Cyril Roy, and Paz De La Huerta. It was written and directed by Gaspar Noe. It was released on Blu-ray and DVD on January 25th, 2011 and is not rated. content director Brian Tallerico

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