MIFF 2010 Review: Enter the Void

31 Jul

Greater Union’s expansive Cinema 5 was sold out on Friday night and, with several cheers and whoops during the rapid fire opening credits, it seemed many in the crowd were expecting big things from Gaspar Noe’s visual spectacular “Enter the Void.”

What followed was the most painful and embarrassing couple of hours I have ever spent in the cinema.  I have never seen a film in which a large cinema audience actually groaned together in disbelief as we were submitted to scene after pointless scene of trite adolescent hippy vomit- “People say you fly when you die” is just one line that particularly irked me even though that was before they started having pseudo intellectual discussions about The Tibetan Book of the Dead and DMT.

I didn’t think there was such a thing as Bad Nostalgia but Enter the Void felt like being stuck on a bus with a group of 14 year olds, who a year after throwing away their dungeons and dragons sets and Michael Jordan posters, only want to talk about smoking drugs and Jim Morrison and then start showing you their magic eye books. Most of the scenes are as convincingly written and acted as a playstation video game except you never get a turn.

No Stars.


18 Responses to “MIFF 2010 Review: Enter the Void”

  1. anna August 2, 2010 at 5:43 am #

    Wow, I can’t wait to see this film. Like Irreversible, which some audiences though should be banned, it looks like Enter the Void is polarising audiences again! This article in the New York Times provides a compelling contrast to Gram’s scathing review.


    • Ronan Macewan August 2, 2010 at 9:05 am #

      Yes, there were plenty of people in the cinema that enjoyed it> i was one of them, though I agree with Gram -it’s pretty adolescent plot and dialogue wise. It’s also way too long, but I think thats an intentional torture of the audience by Noe.

  2. grammorris August 2, 2010 at 12:42 pm #

    Thanks for the review anna, interesting to see how some people could have appreciated it on a visceral level even if the writing, characters and story were completley half assed and embarrassingly adolescent. I guess if you don’t judge a film based on those things (story, character, dialogue, development of theme) then i guess it’s ok, im just too damn old fashioned for Mr Noe.

    • anna August 2, 2010 at 3:32 pm #

      Well, it’s all very interesting isn’t it?

      A friend saw it on Friday and they had been to a funeral earlier that day. They went as far as to say it helped them put their friend’s death in perspective, and they recommended the film highly. I’m hearing such wide-ranging opinions on this one!

  3. Ronan Macewan August 3, 2010 at 7:53 am #

    I would like to know more about the way it was shot. I’m pretty sure some found breaking techniques were employed there.

    Has anyone read something technical about that that they could summarize for herald sun readers such as myself?

    I heard Noe invents new equipment for his films to achieve distinctive effects.

  4. Lou McLaren August 6, 2010 at 8:40 am #

    I find it astounding that despite agreeing this film was a “visual spectacular”, you give it no stars. Trite dialogue and a non sequential loose narrative played constant second fiddle to the visceral feast. Even though I suffer with epilepsy and motion sickness and was forced to wear dark sunglasses through large sections of relentless strobing, I rate this film.
    Performances were not altogether bad- the girl who played the youngest version of the sister deserves an Oscar… or at least some free therapy. The film was far too long and at times painfully unforgiving- who’s heart didn’t skip a beat in the rollercoaster scene? That was an ingenious jump- cut. I’m positive it made my life shorter, and to me, that is worthy of a star rating alone.

    • Ronan Macewan August 6, 2010 at 11:30 am #

      if it’s any consolation, i give the first half **** stars, but then this diminishes to **1/2 by the end of its overlong running time.

  5. space man July 10, 2011 at 3:11 pm #

    I watched this film under the influence. Knowing that people from Throbbing Gristle and COIL worked on the soundtrack, im aware of their background with ritual magic and trance. This film is like a trance/drug trip in itself. Its great to just get lost in it.. to be outside of time, and not be concerned with the films length. This was a truly great film. I think alot of people who groan about the film, just live a different sort of life, and perhaps cant concentrate for long enough, or let their minds just be free, in an almost meditative state. Ive read alot of bad reviews of this film, and i plainly think that these people just dont fully appreciate it. I think this stems from inexperience, and ignorance.

    • grammorris July 10, 2011 at 9:53 pm #

      First thing Space man, you watched this film under the influence. Now I’m not for or against drugs, but I am suspicious when people say that a movie is better ON drugs. Drugs alter your perception so it’s a little bit unfair that I should have reviewed this film keeping in mind your very particular and unique drug experience and how this would add or subtract from the enjoyment of people who werent on said drug.

      For the same reason it’s unusual for a film reviewer to make mention of the fact that they ate an entire packet of sour worms during the film and felt a bit queasy during the second half, or that they arrrived late, and had to sit in the front row right in the corner and it hurt their neck looking at the screen or that they needed to go to the toilet and missed a crucial scene. The film is what im reviewing. If you would like me to write a review of your drug taking and incorporate that into my writing perhaps we could arrange a week and I could follow you around taking notes, eventually we’d arrive at the movie theatre and I could mention that too.

      If drug taking was part of the experience then Gaspar Noe should have ensured that every paying customer was given a tab of acid much like getting a pair of 3D glasses or a Terminator 2 movie cup. Posters should have advertised “Enter the void: In Drugs”

      “Ive read alot of bad reviews of this film, and i plainly think that these people just dont fully appreciate it. I think this stems from inexperience, and ignorance.”

      I’m sorry space man but your annoying me. Your use of ‘plainly think’ demonstrates some rhetorical skill in a folksy Sarah Palin kind of way but where your falling down is the thinking part. Put simply; you aren’t doing enough of it.

      I’m not familiar with the work of ‘throbbing gristle’ so in that respect I’ll have to plead guilty as charged. But to accuse people who dont like the same movies as yourself as ignorant or inexperienced is immature in it’s own right. Many friends whose critical opinion I respect and value really enjoyed this film (their comments are also posted above). the fact that I found this movie’s pretentious philosphising unforgivably juvenile is my opinion and I dont expect everyone to share it. It is not based on ignorance but a personal preference based on my own values, experience and aesthetic sensibility of what I think makes a good film. Personally I value things like script writing, acting, plot, insight, pathos and ETV had none of those things for me. It might have been a visual masterpiece, it WAS visceral and, as you rightly pointed out, it was very similar to a drug taking experience. Sadly none of those things matter very much TO ME when it fails in the other departments.

      Anyway Space man, Thank you for posting. To be honest ETV is probably better than I made out, the fact that I had such a strong reaction to it suggests that it might even be something approaching great art. ETV would be a great film to ‘get lost in it’ and i’m sure that’s what the film makers were intending, it just didn’t work for me.

      • JustLookWhatWeHaveHereThen September 16, 2011 at 2:20 am #

        Wow, what a pretentious moron.

        Also, your grammar is atrocious.

  6. Jesse. November 25, 2011 at 1:43 pm #

    My god, what an amazingly shallow film review (if i can even call two paragraphs of whinging about not much anything at all a review). I love how quickly you’re able to dismiss what was clearly a massive production-something that many people poured their time, energy and love into-in just over 200 words. There is more creativity in one minute of this film than most people will ever experience in a lifetime. Your only response then is to do what countless, COUNTLESS other critics have done before you: attack. Attack with venom. You see something bigger than you, something grander than you, something entirely incomprehensible to you so like a child, you attack. I’m simply flabbergasted at the complete lack of respect-zero stars?! Really, you don’t find ANY redeeming features? I don’t care how cynically aloof you want to appear, there is still a little thing called respect. Respect for another’s work.

    And you know what, i don’t care that this film didn’t adhere to the strict guidelines that you hold for movies, at least have the decency to explain why. Can you not see how you may have upset more than a few people (who shock-horror, actually appreciated it) by completely dismissing the entire film with a few pithy remarks? I mean seriously, this comment i’m posting is already longer than your entire review. Where do you get the audacity to so gleefully denigrate another person’s work? And i’m not talking about your right to an opinion (because yes i understand as you’ve pointed out we’re all entitled to one of those) but to express it with such wanton disdain…well i just don’t understand it. How did it feel writing this, deep down inside, in your heart, your stomach? Did you pause at all? Was there a moment of reflection before you passed down your no stars rating? Did it feel good? Did a smirk flash across your face when you came up with the part about the video game? What happened to you during your lifetime that made you the proprietar of all this contempt, this scorn? Its not good for the soul you know.

    By the way, did you know that Gaspar Noe had been toying with this idea since his adolescence, in which he himself experimented with psychedelics? Do you think perhaps this contributed to the style of dialogue which you yourself described as adolescent? Maybe its dialogue is supposed to reflect the characters. And if these characters are somewhat naive, shallow even, then it seems like the dialogue is actually quite effective. And has it ever occurred to you that perhaps the conversations between Oscar and Alex appear psuedo-intellectual by design? After all these aren’t philosophers or buddhist monks discussing the Book of the Dead, its just a couple of punk kids. But that doesn’t mean the insights they express are any less valid. You see so much of your criticism seems to be leveled at the characters themselves and the drug culture they live in, rather than the artistic and technical aspects of the movie itself. And remember you don’t have to like the characters, or the world they live in to enjoy a movie. If this was the case every movie about the holocaust would be awarded zero stars. And if therefore your arguments are not about the film itself but the world depicted therein, perhaps you appreciated it more than you yourself realised…..

    PS Please mr grammorris, if you’re going to respond to me try and actually address the issues ive raised, instead of just childishly mocking the style in which i’ve framed them.

    • Gram November 25, 2011 at 3:05 pm #

      You’re right Jesse. I dismissed an ambitious (though some may say flawed) piece of work. I did this for almost all the reasons you mentioned. I truly am the Andrew Bolt of film reviewers (he’s a Melbourne shock jock style columnist in the style of Bill O’Reilly)

      I’m not going to argue because most of what you say is correct.

      HOWEVER…My response was honest. You’re right I did not give it much thought but what thought there was was my own.

      I respect your response. I agree with almost everything you have said except one major point on which I think we can agree to disagree and that is that a review is entirely subjective.

    • Johnny January 25, 2012 at 5:24 pm #

      Thank you Jesse. Thank you, thank you! Spot on.
      It’s sad to think that the world of the arts still manages to find a place for the shock jock reviewer, always hiding behind the same sub standard excuse – “but it was only my opinion.”
      Well make it an intelligent opinion okay?!!!
      Subjective my foot. Maybe Gram should find a new job, at a bank or something more fitting.

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  8. Norris, I agree what may be the definition of invulnerability?
    Superman’s invulnerability has been exposed due to the fact he was killed, and the Hulk isn’t invulnerable if he turns back into Banner if he is hit with tranquilizers.

    WOnder Woman, Iron Guy, Batman, Captain America, Spiderman, Green Lantern, GreenArrow, Hawkeye,
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    Even Demi-Gods like Heracles (Hercules) and Thor could be
    destroyed. We have seen Darkseid and Doomsday neutralized;
    even Superman Prime has weaknesses. So it all depends on the circumstances.
    These debates pay off when individuals appear at them logically.
    Very good lookin out Norris!

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  1. Enter the Void: Cannes Press Conference « Australian Film Review - September 9, 2010

    […] Sep See Gaspar and gang explain the movie Gram hated oh so much; Features slight annoying Iron Chef-esque translater. But apart from that its as illuminating as […]

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