FILM | Gaspar Noe Films: Irreversible, Enter The Void, Climax

Irreversible (2002) Enter The Void (2009), Climax (2018)
Directed by Gaspar Noe

In honor of Gaspar Noe and his birthday today, I decided to do a three-piece treat of a review – all of Gaspar Noe’s films I’ve watched! If you don’t already know who he is yet, Noe is an Argentine filmmaker based in France with very experimental and raw films that usually strike some controversial reactions. A highly provocative auteur, as some may put it. He’s a no-holds-bar kind of guy, not really concerned with people walking out the cinema because of how unrelenting his films can be. They can make some people uncomfortable, to be honest.. BUT I LOVE THAT SH*T! I liked the f*d up stuff, especially when it’s the psychological kind of f*d up. So let me just make it easy for you – if you don’t like uncomfortable, very raw films that involve sex, drug use, and violence.. The door is open from this review, you may just carry on. I’ll save you from the heaviness. But! If you enjoy visceral cinema, wild and psychedelic cinematography, techno-house soundtracks, occasional twisted scenes, and very raw yet deep storytelling, you will enjoy one of these films for sure. Yes, his films may be unnecessarily disturbing for some, but at the end of the day, that man is an artist! He’s telling the story the way he wants, and to me, they’re masterpieces. Let me run through them quickly in the order that I watched them and hopefully one of them strike your interest.

ENTER THE VOID (2009)

So I watched Enter The Void a few years ago after several recommendations from my friends that love cinema. I hadn’t heard about Gaspar Noe yet. My friends usually know my taste is pretty dark and psychological, so they would constantly recommend this particular film. They promised me a trip, and a trip it definitely was.

Starting off immediately with a visceral first-person POV of Oscar, a young American drug dealer and addict, we are transported into the colorful, beaming nightlife of Tokyo, Japan. The visuals are insane, accentuating the neon-lit clubs of the city at night. We then are carried into his mind, hearing his thoughts, and experiencing the moment with him. The film is filled with long scenes that draw you into the beautiful cinematography it has.

The film becomes a psychadelic tour of life after death after Oscar is suddenly shot and killed during a buy-bust in one of the nightclubs with DMT in his system. It’s an extremely unique way of storytelling, entirely seen from his point of view. His spirit journeys from the past, moving onto the present, then to the future. It’s a total journey, but one that’s not exactly light to watch I would say. And not a quick one, either!

What struck me most about this film is the raw and unique storytelling and the insane cinematography. The use of the lights in this film is such a great motif and visual element. A masterpiece. I encourage everyone to watch this film – you’ll definitely appreciate the art of cinema here.

IRREVERSIBLE (2002)

Okay! This one’s a heavy one. And I’ll just start it off there because I’m sure as hell not everyone is going to enjoy watching this film. It’s extremely unforgiving in terms of rape & violence, so if you can’t stomach that stuff, don’t watch this film. But if you can, then at least you’ve been warned. I came into this film knowing about what would occur, so it didn’t phase me too much. But it undeniably would make anyone feel uncomfortable. Then again, you just have to remember Gaspar Noe will tell a story the way he feels it should be told – with no filter. And that’s exactly what he did here.

The film is an experimental psychological thriller following two lovers played by extremely gorgeous and talented stars, Monica Belluci and Vincent Cassel. But here’s the catch, the narrative is told backwards, where we see the aftermath of what had taken place during a traumatic night in Paris first, and that fateful night at the end of it. I found this particular way of storytelling so incredible.. So out of the box. It’s so deep in the sense that time is irreversible, and you can never go back in time to stop something as traumatic as what occurs in the end. And this is why my respect for Gaspar Noe grew even more – his films have such an eccentric use of storytelling devices. And the use of dialogue and character arcs leading all the way until that climactic night was just pure genius.

I’d recommend this to hardcore cinema lovers, because you’d definitely appreciate the unique film structure and storytelling, beyond the very disturbing and vile scenes.

CLIMAX (2018)

And the last of the three that I have watched! (Yes, I know I have to watch his new films.. I need to catch up with A LOT of films, period) I would say this is my favorite on the list because guess what, it involves DANCING. I’m a dancer.. So DUH. F*d up psychological narrative with a ton of dancing scenes and techno-house music?!?!? HELL YEAHHH. This is my type of movie. Hahaha.

Climax is a psychological horror film following a group of dancers that are brought into an empty school during the winter. They rehearse their insane and experimental dance numbers, as we get to enjoy the visuals together with sick soundtracks and all the talent that each of the characters have. I was exceptionally impressed by Sofia Boutella, one of the main characters in this film, as she had such a breathtaking performance in this film as both actress and dancer.

The film then takes a sharp turn after one of their rehearsals when one by one, they realize that someone laced the fruit punch bowl with LSD – AFTER everyone had already drank it. So picture this – 24 dancers, stuck during a snowstorm in an empty school at night, all simultaneously starting to have a BAD TRIP. This movie was… a bad trip visualized. For real. That’s all I can really say, the rest you should just find out. Like damn, BAD TRIP bruh. Hahaha.

BUT, the acting was phenomenal, considering some of these dancers aren’t really into acting! Gaspar Noe chose these dancers mostly because of their strange dancing abilities that all meshed well together as a cast. And the cinematography.. as always, is insane. I also started to realize how smart Gaspar is with his colors, as he uses red as an ominous color usually during the climax scenes of his films.

I recommend you watch all these films, but Climax is definitely my favorite of the three. It was a total treat to me. I couldn’t get over it, most especially the soundtrack. If you love cinematography, dancing, techno music, and.. LSD (just kidding), then you’d love this film. But just to remind you, it’s a BAD trip. So.. if you want a good trip, don’t watch this. Hahaha.

Gaspar Noe is not for everyone. That is very clear to many. But for a film buff such as myself, I THOROUGHLY enjoy his films. It’s always so visceral, you always feel like you’re experiencing with the character. That’s largely due to his tracking shots and all his oners. He makes masterpieces, you can’t deny it.

Anyway, ENJOY! Let me know how you find them, and I’m sorry in advance.

EV