Both the real climbers and Richard are narrators whose story unfolds between re-enactments by non-speaking but truly athletic actors. I can only imagine how much footage Noe might add into a Directors Cut - Lord help us. Paz de la Huerta as Linda, his sister, is very eye candyish too. We have antagonistically long but brilliant takes, beginning in an apartment and ending in a bar, several blocks over. I've kept my synopsis brief in order to leave some narrative surprises, but the real point of discussion for Enter the Void is the way the story is told. Probably not because they were shocked but just bored and frustrated. What I really liked about 'Enter the Void' is the setting, for I have lived in Tokyo myself for three years.
Oscar's drug-fed hallucinations alter Tokyo's already-disconcerting nights, and after the police shoot him, he can float above and look down: on his sister's sorrow, on the rooms of a love hotel, and on life at even a molecular level. Tokyo's nasty underside, seen primarily through the eyes of Oscar, a heavy drug user, whose sister Linda is a stripper. He attempted to overcome an extremely weak script by replicating visual and sound techniques used by talented artists like Kubrik, David Lynch and Darren Aronofsky. Their tragic family history is revealed in segments throughout the first hour. A personal thanks to the director Mr. Oscar also has flashbacks to his childhood when trauma upends the siblings. It is so hypnotic that it almost puts me to sleep.
For me it's a clear step-up, even an evolution, from his last feature film in 2002, Irréversible. As the director says, nothing essential happens during the seventh reel. Anybody who describes this film as psychedelic obviously hasn't seen true psychedelic experimental films. But censoring this movie is fatal and would kill it. Oscar also has flashbacks to his childhood when trauma upends the siblings. Walk out before the end? At the start I was like everyone else 'why would you do this stuff for fun' etc, and I still think that, but the story is so gripping that it is impossible to think of anything else.
He then leaves his house to give his friend a stash of drugs he owes him only to be chased and shot by police when he gets there. Oscar goes to a club called The Void. The film is shot with a certain frame of mind, and sticks to it with remarkable faith. Simon's descent was perilous but compared to the still living Joe's evolving ordeal it was a walk in the park. Noe proved with Irreversible that he was a technical genius and that his eye for original visuals knows no bounds. So on that note, I appreciate a film about the expat world, as weird and dysfunctional as it may be. Joe however survives the fall and was lucky to hit a ledge in the crevasse.
His trip down the mountain to within range of the tent where his weak voice was heard by the about to decamp climber and assistant is a truly unique and compelling survivor story, one of the most dramatic ever brought to film. From what I've stated, it's evident that this isn't a film for casual film fans. He holds out in the bathroom trying to flush his drugs and is shot through the door. He's a small time drug dealer. Some of the content is pretty outrageous and even quite silly. Not to mention the number of times we witness a horrendous car accident, which by the third time now features a screaming child and disfigured bodies. Noe also mixes up the story well as he did in Irreversible.
This movie starts out in a style unlike most and you feel drawn into Tokyo and the flashing lights, as you see life from the point of view of our hero Oscar. Enter the Void is meant to be a transportive film i. Some amazing shots, lighting strobe and editing techniques. And what of afterlife, is there more than a void? Visually, I couldn't help but be impressed. He never really goes below the facts, whereas I know he has issues underneath as he apparently was not as calm as he is on camera during the making of the film. I haven't climbed since 1966 when I and two fellow Army officers set the record for summiting Seoul, Korea's Namsan from its almost inaccessible east face.
Enter the Void at your own risk. Director can cut some frequent street and room shifting scenes that make no-sense at all. Particularly as the gay character in this movie is portrayed as being on the same level as the rapist in Irréversible. In what remains a roiling full-fledged controversy amongst the mountaineering fraternity, Simon believed he could only save his life by cutting the rope from which Joe, with whom he could not communicate, dangled. Still, I wish a friend or colleague had tapped him on the shoulder or given him some constructive criticism about the last half of the film. As a feature, its just a 2 hour waste of time.
So what could I add to what has been stated in the other reviews? It may sound boring, but I cannot stress this enough: this film is much more tense, and nail-bitingly gripping, than any Hollywood action movie - because you know that everything you're seeing and hearing really did happen to these guys. Still enthralled to find out what will eventually happen I found myself fast forwarding through the last 60 minutes to the story bits. It is not without flaw but it is difficult to sit and just watch it - I was enthralled by it, a true dramatic human story that never let me get bored or distracted. Even with his tracking shots moving from one location to another, when the viewer is normally given a moments rest, he rapidly cuts across hallways, stairs, and streets, and never gives the viewer a free moment to settle down. Startling and risky performances punctuate the dazzling visuals. I don't know if it has ever been done before but the camera-as-spirit conceit is highly effective and one which puts a very interesting moral spin on the voyeurism of this film. They are raided by the police.