Enter the Void is a mind-blowing film about the fragility of life and the significance of our actions.
After a very sleek and stylish opening credit sequence we immediately see life through the eyes of Oscar. He is talking to his sister on a balcony and mentions the Tibetan Book of the Dead.We learn who he is and the fact that his sister believes his friend Alex to be a junkie. Once she leaves, it becomes apparent her warnings were correct, yet ultimately in vain as we (Oscar) smoke DMT while telling himself he’s not a junkie. After a solid visual trip (much comparable to Kubrick’s 2001) we finally see our protagonist’s face as he looks in a mirror.
What follows is a quick series of bad drug-related decisions that lead to Oscar being set up and shot by the police in a Tokyo bathroom stall. We experience death through his eyes and feel his disbelief and helplessness as his inner voice continues while his body lies dead. His death also reveals the helplessness of his sister and their tragic relationship.
Prior to his death, he and Alex discuss what the Tibetans believe happens to the soul of the deceased. They describe death as the ultimate trip, a statement that foreshadows the rest of the movie. He experiences (and/or imagines) what Alex and his sister’s lives will be like following his death. What he witnesses is not pleasant. Next we see his memories of childhood, scarred by the death of his parents. We see how close he and his sister are, despite uncontrollable forces tearing them apart.
The guilt of leaving his sister drives them both to wish he was still alive, but this is only more depressing as he cannot speak and everyone is distant and abusive. He finally escapes this nightmare shadow reality by realizing he has already been cremated. One of his final visions is a hotel called Love, which directly contrasts Sex, Money, Power, a club where his sister works as a private dancer/escort.
Through his memories, it becomes obvious Oscar is somewhat responsible for his sister’s lifestyle, as well as setting up his own death. This is where the significance of action theme comes into play, as Oscar’s life demonstrates the road to hell is paved with good intentions. He has sex with his friend’s mother to pay for drugs to sell for his sister’s plane ticket. The moral ambiguity of the situation evaporates when you realize his friend’s family is forever destroyed. His friend’s anger leads to the sting operation that ends his life.
I like the fact that this movie left a lot open to interpretation. Are we witnessing a timeless and eternal cycle of the soul or simply the dying regrets of a brain overloaded with DMT? And are those two situations really all that different? While the Freudian themes were as overstretched as the close-up of his sister’s aborted fetus, the film did an otherwise fantastic job of making me genuinely feel like I was the protagonist. Death happens to us all, often unexpectedly. Knowing this and accepting this is essential to appreciating how unlikely and amazing life is.