The Abyss Lazes Also 

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Enter the Void
Directed by Gaspar Noé

The category of drug-inspired movies often overlaps with the category of movies left playing on a television in the background at a party. Enter the Void presents the afterlife as an out-of-body fugue: a skeezy American expat in Tokyo gets killed in a drug bust and then floats around a lot spying on his skanky sister, a fellow orphan (and babyfaced stripper). Colors peak with a Gummi bearish digital glow in what always seems to be night; there are flashbacks, switchbacks, and unclassifiable detours; and the ending is a check-this-out hoot, a new angle on Kubrick's star child.

Sitting through this is tedious in the same way as Noé's Irreversible—the sense of being trapped in a showman's ride. (That's partly due to the infinite loop of the artificially and exhaustively extended camera movements—making spatiotemporal jumps via editing is not, pace Noé, a bad thing.) Noé's trip is at once overlong and disappointingly conditional, especially compared to the likes of The Last Movie: clunky moments of exposition regularly bring things to a buzzkilling halt, and the siblings' primal car-crash trauma comes to feel mundane, no matter how deeply Noé indulges his view of the human body as potential special effect.

But why not have Enter the Void, which premiered at Cannes last year in a rushed cut, as a differently dippy midnight-movie version of Avatar immersion. (Noé recently brushed off 3D as not ''an arrival point.'') ''In we go'' appears scrawled more than once in my notes on the film, and if that's your boat, float away.

Opens September 24

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