I must confess, at the beginning of this review, I haven’t seen Argentinian bad boy director Gaspar Noé’s previously lauded (and equally criticised) film, Irrevérsible. But if it’s anything like as originally shot and full-on as Enter the Void, I certainly want to.
The story goes like this. Guy lives in Tokyo. Guy takes some DMT (so-called ‘businessman’s acid’ that produces a sub-10-minute high). Guy subsequently hallucinates in scenes delicately beautiful and genuinely strange. Guy then goes to a bar... and that’s when the proper weirdness starts.
I’d like to tell you more but that would spoil it and part of the wonder of this film is that nothing is really like you expect it to be. Partly that is down to the truly breathtaking visuals (Noé won an award for best cinematography at the Sitges Film Festival from no less a jury member than Douglas Trumbull) – visuals that have as much to do with Tokyo’s extremely neon-hued cityscape as the innovative camera angles and post-production. Partly it is down to a total refusal to follow the party line when it comes to film.
This infuriated and divided many viewers and critics on the film’s release and it’s easy to see why. At times the acting is wooden, there are many moments of confusion and the actual cultural mores of Japan are barely explored (with some Japanese critics being especially scathing about this), to which I say, why does a film set in another country have to have any notion of being an anthropological artefact? It’s a film.
Pass on through these criticisms and you will find, shining like a little pearl in an oyster of ephemera, something genuinely thought-provoking and visually intense. To paraphrase Hunter S Thompson, buy the ticket, take the ride.
Stewart Hardy (Unverified), 09/07/12
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