Further proof that Gaspar Noe has nothing to say.
Plot in a nutshell: Guy lives in a Tokyo ghetto with his sister. He mostly takes and sells drugs, she strips and whores. Drug deal goes wrong, guy dies, sister grieves, guy's friend moves in to console her, guy gets reborn as their love-child. Oh, and did I mention the Tibetan Book of the Dead? Because the characters do, a few hundred times, without actually giving any reason why that rites-of-passage book has any bearing on, well, anything going on in the film. Except maybe the guy becoming a ghost after he dies, or his spirit floating around or whatever, though even this is a stretch.
About fifteen minutes into this movie, you're thinking "wow, this is very fresh and vibrant, this could be one of the best cinematic experience of the year".
About an hour in, you're thinking "OK, I get it. Now please stop."
The strobe effects are just annoying. The tendency of the camera to zoom and spin into the first visible circular object in a room (fan, stove burner, duct -- any hole will do!) becomes so tiresome that snorts of derision accompanied these transitions halfway through the second hour. The final hotel-of-love scene caused outright laughter when the glowing genitals made their appearance. Maybe a Cannes audience found it offensive, but the audience at the IFC Center just found it ludicrous.
It may seem nit-picking to focus on these three flaws in a film that provided so much in terms of cinematography, seedy sides of Tokyo, and down-and-out lifestyle ... but really, they ruin it. Perhaps the film could have been saved if there was any take-away, but it remains a collection of impressionistic sequences with a "love is all there is and by love we mean sex and such" message tacked onto the end.
* * * R A T I N G * * *
Enter the Void(IMDB)
Wince : [*****] Every time the camera goes into a duct.
Flinch : [**___]
Retch : [**___]
Gape : [**___]
Groan :[**********] Yes, I added that just for this film.
Beerequisite : [****_]
Pornability : [***__]
Obscurity : [*____]
Explicability : [***__]
Memories I want to erase: ...about 3 hours' worth.
What I would do different: Maybe read the Tibetan Book of the Dead, for starters.