Steven Sheehan’s review published on Letterboxd:
Was it the Whisky, or was it the constant humming bass from the speakers? Either way, there was a distinctly disturbing feeling that washed over me when I watched this film. Rarely does a film disorientate my senses and take me through such a range of engaging thoughts that force me to experience them firsthand and question why I was at the same time.
Director Casper Noe wants to pour it all down your throat – he doesn’t want you to miss the point but he also won’t allow himself to do so in a way that encourages a cliché and that takes an immense amount of film making bravery. Anyone that has seen Irreversible will know that he couldn’t give a damn about where the line can or will be drawn when it comes to the taboo, or reflecting how being uncomfortable with the truth will only pay to elongate our ignorance.
I have wanted to see this film for a long, long time after the noise it generated in mid 2010 made it stand out as an experience not to be missed. From the hypnotic opening titles which blast open your senses you then drift into a DMT (Dimethyltryptamine) trip from a first person point of view that then amplifies the dream like state that exists throughout the film. It opens from Oscar’s (Nathaniel Brown) first hand experience living in Toyko and takes you on his journey from the living to the spirit, through betrayal of friends, to his ultimate reflection on what the life he led really meant and will continue to evolve into. It’s a very ethereal film (The Tibetan Book of the Dead being it’s source of inspiration) that manages to balance very obvious depictions of experiences in life whilst allowing you the room to form your own philosophical conclusions from them.
Oscar watches over his sister (Paz de la Huerta) throughout the film and you get to understand the relationship they have established over this time through flashbacks to their difficult childhood and choices made in adulthood. What does cause difficulty throughout the film is the apparent freeform approach adopted by the director through the characters, this extends scenes further than they need to be and minimises the impact they should have on you. One take scenes can be immensely powerful but whilst instinct is a wonderful emotion to tap into, lack of discipline on when to curtail it can lead to steadily dilute the impact.
Some of the sweeping camera shots in Enter The Void will leave you dumbfounded, wandering how they were achieved so seamlessly and take you on a sensory journey you rarely experience. Noe has an amazing imagination that he can portray through the camera, a skill that many directors seem unable to do. However, whether intentional or not, I find there is a lack of warmth in his films that stops me from getting to the centre of where he wants to go and that prevents me from hailing this a classic.