“Enter the Void” is like dying in slow motion on DMT
Enter the Void
Dir: Gaspar Noé
Psychonauts — DMT aficionados — say that one puff of that extreme, psychedelic drug is so powerful it can make you collapse before putting down the pipe. The reaction lasts just a few minutes but might seem like hours, or even days. They say the brain’s pineal gland excretes a large dose of dimethyltryptamine (DMT) right before you die. It makes your whole life pass before your eyes, just before you expire. That’s what they say.
Gaspar Noé’s new, spectacularly, overwhelmingly trippy movie Enter the Void, is a 2.5 hour hallucinogenic experience, seen directly through the eyes of a Canadian druggie living in Tokyo. Oscar rarely appears (except when looking in a mirror) but you see everything he thinks, remembers, sees, or imagines, as repeated loops of his life and death are projected on the screen.
Oscar (Nathaniel Brown), a low-level drug dealer, and his sister Linda (Paz de la Huerta), a stripper, live in a Tokyo entertainment district resembling Dogenzaka. They have been close since a childhood blood-oath, but are separated when a failed drug deal at a bar, The Void, tears Oscar free from his body. Like in the book The Tibetan Book of the Dead that he leaves in his apartment, Oscar is in limbo. He is now forced to perpetually view strobing neon, sordid sex, drugs and violence as he floats through solid walls and bends time and space. Stove burners morph into drains and psychedelic star bursts; aerial cityscapes turn seamlessly into handmade, day-glo models of Tokyo buildings and back again.
Enter the Void is like nothing I’ve ever seen. It is an extremely absorbing and mind-blowing — but looooong — work of art. Each time you prepare for the dream’s inevitable ending, it introduces a new tableau. French enfant terrible Gaspar Noé has surpassed his earlier, drastic films by moving beyond the simple, horrific violence and shocking scenes and flashbacks that fueled Seul contre tous (1998) and Irréversible (2002). Enter the Void is his best and most ambitious film to date.