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Enter the Void

France/Germany/Italy/Canada 2009
produced by
Pierre Buffin, Brahim Chioua, Olivier Delbosc, Vincent Maraval, Marc Missonnier for Fidélité Productions, Wild Bunch, BUF
directed by Gaspar Noé
starring Paz de la Huerta, Nathaniel Brown, Cyril Roy, Olly Alexander, Masato Tanno, Ed Spear, Emily Alyn Lind, Jesse Kuhn, Nobu Imai, Sakiko Fukuhara, Janice Béliveao-Sicotte, Sara Stockbridge, Stuart Miller, Emi Takeuchi, Rumiko Kimishima, Kenji Isomura
written by Gaspar Noé with the help of Lucile Hadzihalilovic, music by Thomas Bangalter, special effects by Ohira Tokusho Koka, Griffith, Big Shot, digital visual effects by BUF

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Oscar (Nathaniel Brown) is nothing but a little American drugdealer in Tokyo, and he aqlso makes the mistake to take his own drugs himself, which more than once cloouds his judgement. His friend Alex (Cyril Roy) tries to keep him from getting into too much trouble, but then again, Alex is a sleazy and far-out artist who doesn't always have the best grip of reality himself. Anyways, eventually Alex is lured into a trap and shot dead by the cops. Alex, who was with him, manages to get away and phones Oscar's sister Linda (Paz de la Huerta ...

... which opens a whole new aspect of the story: Oscar has always loved his sister Linda, but after their parents have died when they were little, they were seperated and given to different foster parents. Eventually, Oscar went to Tokyo, and he got into drugdealing to save up enough money to pay the airfare for his sister to meet him there and finally live together as it was meant to be.

Once Linda has joined him in Tkyo though, Oscar introduces her to his lifestyle of partying and drug abuse. Eventually, Linda starts to work as a stripper, something Oscar doesn't 100% approve of, nor of her relationship to a Japanese man, Mario (Masato Tanno). When Oscar is shot and Alex tries to phone her about it, Linda has sex with Mario. She later learns she is pregnant from him, and Alex's death might have been the point of her conception. Linda has an abortion.

Yet another aspect of the story: Oscar has a regular customer, Victor (Olly Alexander), a teen he has really grown fond of - but he also shags Victor's attractive mom, and when Victor questions him about it, he admits to it. Victor reacts with a fit of rage, but not only that, he also betrays Oscar to the police, which eventually leads to Oscar's death by police bullets. Later Victor, overcome by guilt, pays a visit to Linda to apologize - but she simply cannot forgive ... duh!

It all ends in a trippy trip to a love hotel where couples have sex in all the rooms, and all the men have light penisses - and I have no idea what that has to do witht he rest of the film.

 

Enter the Void is probably like hardly anything you have ever seen, a 161-minute trip-like movie that combines a weirdly designed soundtrack with accomplished long tracking shots, fascinating pans over the roofs of nighttime Tokyo, computer animations masterfully blended with real life footage, hypnotic colour scales and the like ...

... and all of this, ironically, makes the film one big failure, an overblown sensory overkill that desperately tries to bury the simplistic story its trying to tell under fascinating surface after fascinating surface. Fact is, the film was skillfully planned, and lets you feel it in every frame, but the soul of the film is weirdly lacking. After a while, it feels just like an overlong musicvideo, with sexscenes thrown in as calculated provocations, that always carefully refrain from being explicit though, which makes them sort of empty in the context.

Sure, you can try to see the film as some kind of narrtative puzzle, due to its non-linear plotline - but even as that it fails, as the intentional non-linear storytelling soon exposes itself as a series of good old-fashioned flashbacks, and the metaphors and symbolism woven into the plot come across as incredibly heavy-handed.

That all said, the film is still kind of fascinating, if you want to see an able artisan at work - but at 161 minutes it's also a test to your patience ...

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
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love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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Tales to Chill
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
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tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD