They say you fly when you die.
Sometimes when films get added to the A.V. Club's New Cult Canon I make a point of watching them right away. Other times I let them percolate and see if I'm still interested somewhere down the line. Considering it was written about a little over a year ago, Gaspar Noé's Enter the Void definitely falls into the second category. The 2009 film can best be described as a hallucinogenic odyssey since it follows a Tokyo-based drug dealer and user (Nathaniel Brown) through his last few drug-addled minutes before he's shot and killed by police during a drug bust gone bad. That's far from the end of his journey, though.
Rather audaciously, Noé films the entire opening from Brown's point of view, which extends to the trip he goes on when he takes a hit of DMT, out-of-body experience included. It also shows him interacting with his sister (Boardwalk Empire's Paz de la Huerta) who's staying with him and a painter friend (Cyril Roy) who has loaned him the Tibetan Book of the Dead and essentially talks him through what's going to happen to him while they're walking to the bar (conspicuously called The Void) where he makes the aforementioned ill-advised drug deal. Once he's free from his corporeal body, Brown becomes a silent, floating observer, flitting around the city to check in on Roy (who has to flee the scene) and de la Huerta (who is unaware that her dead brother is watching her have sex with her boss). (Oh, did I mention that she works at a strip club? Well, she does.)
From there, Brown drifts into his memories (which are shot over his shoulder to differentiate them), including such traumatic events as the car accident that killed their parents and their subsequent separation as children. We also see what led to him getting into drugs and the story on the guy he was dealing with at the time of the police raid. (There's a fair bit of repetition in this section as we watch events unfold a second time from a slightly different angle.) Having returned to the present, as it were, we then accompany Brown on the road to reincarnation. That this involves spying on a lot of people having incredibly graphic sex is purely a coincidence, I'm sure.