College Media Network

The Observer

The Student Newspaper of Case Western Reserve University
  • Home
  • News
  • Sports
  • Fun Page
  • Opinion
  • Focus
  • About Us
    • Info
    • Staff
  • Archives
    • Sept. 2008 - Present
  • Options
    • Login
    • Register
    • Write to the Editor
    • Syndication
    • Search
  • Advertising

Two recent film releases: Harry Potter disappoints; Enter the Void intrigues

Paul Brinnel

Issue date: 12/3/10 Section: Focus
  • Print
  • Email
  • Page 1 of 1
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 focused too heavily on packing every scene with action and less on developing character.
Media Credit: Courtesy of Warner Bros Pictures
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 focused too heavily on packing every scene with action and less on developing character.
[Click to enlarge]

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1

Directed by David Yates (Warner Bros.; 2010)

Nine years and 1,048 minutes of cinema later, we've finally reached the penultimate installment of the Harry Potter film saga. Pity it's unbearably boring. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is little more than a chain of nauseatingly confusing climaxes broken up by the occasional joke or somber hug. This is especially disappointing considering the last installment in the series (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince) was such a genuinely fun movie.

By pandering to the Michael Bay crowd, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 discards all sense of coherent structure. Whereas Half Blood Prince had its best moments when depicting the microcosm of schoolboy crushes and perceived popularity that is Hogwarts, Deathly Hallows, Part 1 wastes every other moment reminding you just how epic Harry's ongoing tribulations are. The plot is more like that of a video game than a fantasy film. On top of that, the only actors that get any sustained dramatic screen time are Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson), and Ron (Rubert Grint). None of these are strong enough actors to maintain any sort of apparent chemistry, and most of their extended dramatic scenes are downright painful to watch.

In one particularly disappointing scene, Harry coaxes Hermione into dancing in order to distract her from the painful reality that everyone they know is being murdered. This scene is meant to serve as a key dramatic turning point - one where we are reminded that the real strength of Harry's character isn't his mastery of magic but his compassion. Unfortunately, a quick montage of smirking and waltzing doesn't accomplish any of that. Instead it offers only a brief boring respite between two prolonged and desensitizing battles between Harry and the forces of evil.

Enter the Void

Directed by Gaspar Noe (Wild Bunch; 2010)

Film pioneer Dziga Vertov once said: "I am a mechanical eye. I, a machine, I am showing you a world, the likes of which only I can see." Writer-director Gaspar Noé has taken Vertov's concept of "Kino-Glaz" (Cine-Eye) to its logical culmination. Enter the Void takes place entirely from the perspective of its main character, Oscar (Nathaniel Brown). Between Noé and cinematographer Benoît Debie, the camera becomes a transient spectre, drifting untethered around, over, and through the skyline of contemporary Tokyo. The viewer isn't just made to see what Oscar sees; incredibly, anyone watching is forced to feel all of the natural and synthetic highs that distort Oscar's perceptions. It's impossible to convey the level of trance this film induces. Each visual distortion and optic trick draws in and arrests the viewer to a level I'd previously thought impossible.

Its visual mastery alone makes Enter the Void a great film. This said, the actual narrative story does have some serious flaws - Oscar is a drug dealer and his sister Linda (Paz de la Huerta) is a stripper; an abundance of flashbacks make it quite clear that both have led very tragic lives. Linda's codependence issues are romanticized rather than confronted and neither character has any clear purpose or ambition in any of their actions. Each character seems completely numb to his or her surroundings and none aim to find any purpose amid their existence. While the interactions between the characters are dramatic, there's a very apparent lack of complexity. Even in private, the characters refuse to exude any sort of personality. As they meander around Tokyo, these traumatized, drugged-out patsies react to many things, but seldom act when not provoked to do so.

Paul Brinnel maintains his own film review website at
Page 1 of 1

Article Tools

Be the first to comment on this story

Issue Summary


  • A conversation with Professor Jessica Green
  • Nation's first research-oriented wind turbine constructed near Veale
  • Thwing Study Over to provide students much-needed break this Sunday
  • Transformation on horizon for KSL
  • USG reflects upon accomplishments at last meeting of semester


  • Grapplers drop match against rival John Carroll, fall to 0-2
  • Spartans encounter cold spell late in second half, go 0-2 in JCU tournament
  • Spartans place 18th at cross country NCAA championships
  • Sports Shorts
  • Women fall behind early, lose to Baldwin-Wallace

Fun Page

  • Fun Page Solutions


  • Cleveland provides refugees, volunteers opportunities with Refugee Response program
  • Editorial: Semester Grades
  • There's no 'I' in team - but there is in 'Republican'
  • What are you doing over winter break?


  • A look back: best of 2010 entertainment
  • Art history department says goodbye as distinguished professor Dr. Edward Olszewski retires
  • Cleveland writer Susan Streeter Carpenter reads from counter-culture novel Riders on the Storm
  • Magic of Mr. CWRU uses talent, gusto to benefit East Cleveland
  • Our friend Kelvin
  • The art of seduction, part II
  • Two recent film releases: Harry Potter disappoints; Enter the Void intrigues
National College Advertising and Marketing | Privacy Policy (9/9/09) | Terms of Use (9/9/09)
Content Submission Agreement (8/23/07) | Copyright Compliance Policy (4/27/09) | RSS Terms of Use