Enter the Void 

click to enlarge 48_enter_the_void.jpg

What happens when the bad boy of arthouse cinema, Gaspar Noe (Irreversible), meets the Tibetan Book of the Dead? Noe sets his tale in a seedy corner of Tokyo, where a Canadian brother and sister share a cramped flat. After the brother is killed in a drug deal, his ghost floats over the city, revisiting his acquaintances and reflecting on his past. Much of the film is pretty trippy, with distorted points-of-view and dream sequences. The story is rather trite, but watching this film is about the experience, not the plot. It's frequently set on sensory overload: kaleidoscopic special effects, look-at-this camerawork, pounding music, and stuff that flashes off and on. Enter is a wildly indulgent, overly long and occasionally dull cornucopia of sound and vision -- all while larding on metaphysical noodling and physical canoodling.

But for all its cutting-edge rizz-razz and shock effects, there's something hokey and retro about Enter, reminiscent of an earnest early-1970s Eastern religion-inspired journey, as told via cinema, comix or concept album. As it unfolded, I was frequently guarded, bored, impressed, bemused or perplexed. But upon reflection, the audacity of this hyper-sexual, hyper-kinetic vision -- glowing genitals, really? -- made me laugh. It's a crazy combo of sleazy and serious, a dirty soap opera combined with spiritual mumbo-jumbo, plus all the loopy tedium on one expects from bong-inspired ruminations on What It All Means, dressed up in flashing colors.

I'm not sure if that's a recommendation. Some folks will love this film; others will hate it. Midnight movies don't exist anymore, but this would be an excellent candidate, generating hooting laughter, hipster awe and stoner adoration. Enter this void at your own risk. Starts Fri., Dec. 3, through Tue., Dec. 7. Melwood


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