olivia’s review published on Letterboxd:
well, i decided tonight was the night to rip the bandaid off with this one, so to speak, and man did i underestimate just how much gaspar likes to toy with his victims (i mean viewers).. nothing can prepare you for this. a torturous, masochistic labor of transient effervescence the likes of which i've never seen, enter the void is an incandescent, garish, virtuosic, lucid kaleidoscopic nightmare that tested me more than anything ever has before. this pushed my mind and patience to the limit, possibly beyond any point it has ever been pushed to. i feel on the brink of a chasm of my mind's deconstruction. the runtime is ridiculously grueling, it's bogged down by the weight of its own gravity, but at the same time it floats and is tethered to nothing. yet.. is this film a masterpiece? does it take a nosedive off of the precipice of true greatness into the pool of oblivion and transcendence? yes. or, just.. maybe? perhaps it is once again the mark of an artistic genius who revels and relishes in the thrill of painting his canvas with his audience's own blood, and filling their ears with the sounds of inexorable, unyielding television static and glitchy, chaotic audio night terrors. its unwillingness to shy away from.. difficult subject material (to put it mildly) could be a downfall if you let it; but i'm learning that to watch a gaspar film is to have the strength to overcome the obstacles that are sure to arise, and to know that you're signing up for cinematic brutality when you agree to watch. this film is a passage through the very time space continuum itself; glimpses of galactic matter and lives gone astray slip through your fingers like liquid perfusions. am i still intact or have i morphed into a wormhole version of olivia? the verdict is still out on that..
this film is scathing, unrelenting, deeply uncomfortable, and it mesmerized me like a moth to a very bright and hypnotic flame, simultaneously attracting me and repelling me with the force of a magnet much, much stronger than myself. at many points in the film i wondered can i or will i make it through this? i'm gonna be honest and say there were multiple times where i wanted to turn it off, but ultimately i powered through by sheer force of will because 1) torben talked this one up so much, and 2) because i'm quickly learning as i fall more and more down the rabbit hole that is gaspar noé's filmography, that once you climb the mountain of his unbearably grandiose and superlative making, there's some kind of ultra hyperbolic and rewarding feeling that comes over you for being able to actually finish his creation, and live to write about it. noé is the only director to ever stir in me such an overwhelmingly intense sensation of gratification upon post-viewing. with climax i thought: this euphoric aftershock is a one time thing, nothing will ever make me feel this way again.. i was right. enter the void did not make me feel satisfied, more like battered and bruised, but i still feel that initial sense of accomplishment for surviving. it's like gaspar puts you through the ringer, through absolute hell, and rather than asking yourself "am i okay?" or something of that nature, rather than checking how much of you is still left intact, you instead wonder what film of his you should watch next to get back this feeling of relief for living through a lightning strike. it makes no logical sense, but that's how the experience of watching noé's films has been for me so far. he tortures his viewer and we ask for more, and enter the void is no different. it is gripping and emotionally taxing from the very first frame until the last, not to mention just as beautiful from a cinematography standpoint as climax was, if not more so. the way he captures raw emotions and unbridled pain with his camera angles and editing is a true feat, no matter how disorienting. screams of torment and anguish are underlying focal points in his stories; they're the images that stick with me the most out of anything (although i won't be able to unsee the love hotel scene probably ever). i don't actually think i've ever experienced a film from the main character's point of view, literally through their eyes, and that was very cool, even if it was almost constantly jarring. also i've never seen a movie not have cuts in between scenes, it's just one very long take, and that was a stroke of genius. it's kind of like how the weeknd's kissland album is just one long song, the transitions are that flawless, and this film mirrors that effect very successfully.
i'm noticing a theme in noé's work of exhausting portrayals of intensified human conditions, cut by a prism of neon colors and twisting vantage points. often his point of reference lies within the viewer's own interpretation, which makes each of his films feel like a singular journey of self-discovery and intellectual awakening. and while i did not enjoy watching this, it honestly doesn't matter (but maybe i should stop watching gaspar's work while i'm so sleep deprived, or is that making it all the more effective? who's to say?). it's as rewarding as it is unpleasant. noé leaves you on a kind of high no other filmmaker could ever dream of copying; watching his films might just be the closest to nirvana you can actually come to in this life, and it is breathtaking. enter the void is an insurmountable test of the strongest resolve you can muster, and everything about it starts to become so grating and abrasive towards the end. i'm sad to say after about halfway through the movie something switched in me and i suddenly went from thinking "this is greatness" to "please let it end".. but i still can't deny that the impact is earth shattering. this was a super long way of saying this movie is crazy af! paris is us wishes it was enter the void. also.. what's gonna happen to me when i die, man? overwhelmed isn't even the word for what i am right now. i think i need a break, idek what from exactly, but i need a break. i never want to watch this again btw. i still don't know if i hated this or loved it. or both? or hate loved it? or loved to hate it?? hated to love it?? i'm rambling. and for a final parting thought: imagine seeing this in 3D?
(part of my priority watchlist of 2019)
(gaspar noé - ranked)