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Why the Movie Enter Nowhere Really Is Worth Your Time
Why the Movie Enter Nowhere Really Is Worth Your Time - or how this closed box movie once understood discusses important social issues like family...
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Why the Movie Enter Nowhere Really Is Worth Your Time

First, I just did a cool little interview with Jason Dolan, one of the co-writers of the Enter Nowhere screenplay… which you can experience in all its glory right here. Also, if you haven’t seen Enter Nowhere yet, consider watching it from this particular link right here… and that will help keep these conversation pages coming.

Now, I gotta say, that the acting in Enter Nowhere obviously didn’t win it any awards. I even laughed when I found out that one of Clint Eastwood’s sons was in the movie the acting was so meh. But! It is one of those fantastic ideas that could have been an amazing Black Mirror episode, instead of a full length movie. But! But! Why don’t you let me tell you why the movie Enter Nowhere really Is worth your time. Ok? And I’ll walk you through it below.

But first, what is this movie all about? I’ve never heard of it! Me either, that is until Chris T. mentioned it to us out on the movie recommendation thingy. I’d tell you how to recommend a movie, but right now? I’m way way behind on getting to your recommendations. So no. I’m not telling you about it. Or how cool it is. Or why you should use it. Because you shouldn’t. Ok?! Great. (Thanks for nothing Chris!) Here, have a trailer to walk you through it.

Spoilers From Here On In – Spoilers Beware!

Don’t let me catch you reading beyond here unless you have a ticket stub, receipt, or some sort of validation that you have in fact seen this movie. Ok? Don’t even think about it. Not even a little bit. Ok? Great. If you haven’t seen it, catch it here on Google, here on Amazon, here on Vudu… you get the idea.

So, before we start, this movie, Enter Nowhere, falls into a category of closed box movies like Triangle, 10×10, Arq, Z for Zacharia, and the like. Usually these movies utilize some clever method of invoking a technology to close box. which was the case of Arq – and that was a time loop closed box. Or maybe a Bermuda Triangle closed box (Triangle). An apocolyptic closed box – Zacharia. Or what have you. Today’s closed box is caused by… uh, literally no idea. The movie doesn’t even attempt to address it. I almost see it as a more coherent (way lower budget) version of the film Mr. Nobody. But we will get to that in good time.

Quick Walkthrough of the movie Enter Nowhere

As the movie opens, we see Jody (played by Sara Paxton) and her accomplice boyfriend Kevin (played by Christopher Denham) robbing a stop and rob. At the last minute, Jody orders the owner to open the safe that is behind the counter. Surprisingly, the owner tells her that she can’t hand what the safe holds (Let’s put a pin in this comment of his for later, shall we?) – and so she shoots him. FLASH! Zoom! Bang. And all of a sudden, we aren’t in Kansas anymore are we? Apparently, she took the money, ran off to a cabin that’s out in the middle of nowhere.

Jumping backwards a bit in the timeline, a woman named Samantha (played by Katherine Waterston, known for Alien: Covenant) and her husband ran out of gas, and so she wanders off to find gas. But instead finds this shack instead. Obviously hungry she nabs some food and takes off. But she is met by Tom (played by Scott Eastwood – known for … uh, mainly being Clint Eastwood’s son, oh, and Suicide Squad) who tells her that she’ll die of the cold and exposure if she isn’t careful.

Soon the duo are met by Jody and become a trio. And when Tom goes to search for a way out, only to return from the other direction, the three of them begin to realize something bigger is happening here. As they continue talking and slowly getting to know each other a little bit, they realize that each of them thinks that they are in completely different states. Worse yet? When Samantha tells Jody that it’s 1962, Jody comes completely unhinged. So Jody heads to Tom and tells him that Samantha is nuts, and that it is obviously not 1962, but rather 1985. Tom blows both their minds when he tells them that no, in fact it’s 2011.

Obviously something is rotten in Denmark. Something bigger is going on here. But what?

Standard Closed Box Tropes

The moment I realized that Tom was looping back around to the same cabin I immediately assumed that this was a layer of Dante’s Inferno. A layer of Hell caused by errors that these three people had made in their past life. Why? Well, because usually, in movies like this, that is what is happening. And the only way out is for the people contained in that hell to make amends with their past. Like Jacob’s Ladder, right? But I was literally shocked when I found out that each of the people was from a different time period. That immediately told me that we had something else going on here. Something different than most hell-based closed loops. Some sort of chain of events maybe? I knew there had to be a deeper chain of events running through these three people.

What Is The Common Thread of Enter Nowhere?

As I was trying to unravel what the thread might be, things only went further off kilter when we meet a German soldier, named Hans (played by Shaun Sipos), that is incessantly firing his gun through the woods. Samantha is the only one with a little bit of German under her belt, but Hans isn’t really listening to anyone about anything. He ties everyone up, there’s a lot of “AHH DON’T KILL ME!” for quite a while. And it the girls even think that Hans, an obvious Nazi is going to rape them? But when Hans notices Samantha’s locket, and Jody’s locket, he comes completely undone. And when Hans, Samantha, and Jody are talking to Tom about the lockets, Tom gets the jump on Hans, and knocks him out. And that is when the trio begin to figure out what is going on.

The Family Lineage and Horrible History of Enter Nowhere

When Hans saw Samantha’s locket, and she tells him that that is her mother he flips out. Why? Because that means that Hans is Samantha’s father. Oh just you hush, I’m only getting started. And her father, is Hans, Hans Neumann. The maniac Nazi that joined the party late. Samantha tells us that Hans died during the war, during an air raid in the town of Wielun. And after the war Samantha’s mother married an American who both died in a car accident “a few years ago”. Which means they died somewhere around 1960, 1959?

Samantha marries a guy named Adam Cohen. And Samantha becomes pregnant in 1962. The same year that Adam Cohen goes to the Vietnam war, where he dies. And when Samantha is about to give birth to Jody, (Yes, the same Jody) she has complications and calls for a paramedic. They are late in arriving, and Samantha dies. But Jody survives. Jody is born on November 11th, 1962. Because Samantha’s parents died a few years earlier, Jody went to live with Samantha’s husband’s family. And because they didn’t like Samantha, they abused Jody throughout her life, and she grew to hate them for it.

So Jody takes up with Kevin Banks. The begin robbing banks and convenience stores. Kevin gets Jodi pregnant, but she doesn’t know it yet. And during a heist, she shoots the convenience store owner. And to keep his cut of the money, Jodi kills Kevin. And soon is caught and imprisoned for the murder of the convenience store owner. She is put in the South Dakota’s Women’s Prison. And Tom is born there on December 12, 1985. Right? You getting all this? Well, eight months later, Jody is put to death for the murder of the man, and as a result, Tom goes to live at an orphanage run by a Catholic Church. And he is eventually abused by a Priest. He eventually comes back and kills the Priest for what he did to Tom, and then kills himself.

Did you get all that? Because that’s Just eventuality number one.

After the trio talk about their dreams of their respective futures (all dying terribly) they realize that this isn’t their past, but rather their future. And if only they can save Hans from the bombing run the day it kills him, maybe their futures will change. When he realizes what is happening, Tom says, “No, we’re all about to live. If he lives, then your mother will never remarry. And if she never remarries, maybe she’s with you while Adam’s over in Vietnam. She drives you to the hospital, you don’t die during childbirth. That would mean, Jody grows up with a mother, and doesn’t turn out so bad after all. And maybe I grew up with a real mother.” And with this realization, Samantha notices that Jody’s scar has disappeared. A few minutes later, as Tom is trying to get Hans to the bomb shelter, and Hans accidentally shoots Jody. And as Tom runs the opposite way round in order to catch Tom, as the two converge – Hans shoots Tom, but Tom is vaporizing, and he misses no matter how good his aim is.

Alright, I have to stop here, because I saw comments on Reddit, and other comment sites that got this bit 100% wrong. Tom vanished because his mother died a few feet away from him. And if Jody doesn’t exist, then Tom can’t exist either. And so he just faded from the party. And that then leaves Hans, and his daughter. So Samantha tells him to get moving to the bunker. But Samantha is hurt by the falling bombs, and Hans carries her to the shelter. And there, with the shelter doors closed, he rides out the bombing. We watch as everything we saw happen rewinds and then we are given an entirely new future out of the old one.

A New Enter Nowhere Timeline Reenvisioned

With this bombing raid survived, Hans survives the war and returns back to Samantha’s mother. Hans and his wife raise Samantha. Samantha marries Adam, and when Samantha gets pregnant, and Adam is in Vietnam, Samantha’s mother is there with Samantha to help. Samantha survives the birth of Jody because Samantha’s mother is there, along with her philanthropist father, Hans. Then a few years later, with Jody living a good life with her mother Samantha, when her father Hans dies, Samantha and Jody go out to the beach behind their house to scatter the ashes. Roll Credits!

What? How? Where’d Tom Go? Well, we know that the moment in the convenient store happened in 1962, before Jody even knew she was pregnant via Kevin. And we see that Kevin was with a different woman in the car as she leaves. And that woman pulls exactly the same maneuver that Jody had pulled with the owner of the store. Ending with the owner dead. But Jody is heading on a different trajectory. There is no man in her life yet. But even if there was, with Kevin not in her life, there is no Tom. Or better said, there is no possibility that Tom will ever exist now because Kevin and Jody never meet. So yeah, that’s where Tom went… to nowhere. Here, I was sketching a bit of the timeline and here’s how I see it in my head… (sorry for the bad handwriting I wrote it for myself originally, not for you, but I think it tells the story well.)

BUT WHAT DOES ENTER NOWHERE MEAN?

This is why I do these posts. I spend a ton of time walking through the basics of the movie, finding images, getting the story entered onto the website, making sure the story is found on Google, all for this moment. Literally hours of viewing, reviewing, thinking, typing just so I can get to this two paragraph discussion about what it all means. Pardon me while I savor this moment a bit. AHHHh. Hahaha. No seriously, talking about the WHAT HAPPENS in the movie is the boring part to me. I do it all so we can get to the layer beneath the layer we see. And if you look at that doodle I gave you up there – it tells a story of the philosophy and the message of this movie.

Uh. What story? I don’t see a story. Look at it closer, I drew it a specific way to point this story out. Storyline one, Hans sires Samantha, heads to the war and dies… disappears forever. Samantha dies in childbirth alone as a result. Jody is born, but is abused by Samantha’s husband’s family that hated Samantha. As a result, Jody is raised angry at everyone, lives on her own. Spends her life murdering and stealing. Ends up executed. Tom in turn kills a priest and then himself.  All of these stories are stories of broken families. All of these stories are results of tragedies caused in each layer. A perpetuation of a tragedy that started in World War II. (I should spend a thousand words talking about the fact that the key of t his movie is all about saving a German soldier, but I’ll just point it out and leave it here for you to think about.)

But notice, Hans survives, and Hans, and his wife, are there for Samantha until 1985, when Hans dies a rich Philanthropist. Who cares about the money, this discussion is all about the fact that Hans and his wife were there for Samantha. Yes? Take one down, pass it around, 99 bottles of beer on the wall. Now, Samantha has someone to take her to the hospital. Sure. But more importantly? Nurture. She is loved, and nurtured. Cared for. And even though Adam, her husband dies in Vietnam, she has family there for her. Similarly Jody, when she is born, she now has her mother pouring into her life.

This movie is one big PSA for nuclear families. Not just families (Adam’s family abuses Jody) but nuclear families. Adoptive parents, orphanages, extended families? All horrible. (Yes, I know that adoptive parents aren’t horrible – I will soon be an adoptive father myself. I know that in-laws are not horrible… cough. But this is the logic of Enter Nowhere.) And I have to say, yes, 99% of the time, this is true. Family is critical. Nuclear family is what it’s all about. But yeah, it’s a huge over generalization that is more fitting in the story Cinderella than it is in real life. But it is the story that Enter Nowhere is giving us.

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2 Responses

  1. Chris T

    Taylor, thank you, and so honored. You do it every single time. Your in-depth fission of each movie/show provides so much in the way of NN (neuronal nourishment). I easily could live off nothing but your reviews (and maybe some water). You broke into & down much stuff I had not quite thought of — and yes, some stuff we both thought… The laugh factor near the beginning???? Yup, 100% same page. It was enough that I considered not continuing to watch. Usually, a film has to call to me near the beginning in some abstruse way. Not sure what did that here. best guess… I think it was the story that I just let take me forward. Also, I think I was pulled in by what I perceived were various visual clues being dropped by the director – starting in that first cabin scene. I fixated on the matchbook Samantha has at very beginning in the cabin… it has a logo on it. I had no idea what it might mean, but I paused and jotted down the name (Catena’s). Turns out, that’s the name of the store where the the robberies happen (and fun fact, it’s a real store, in Southhampton, NY, where they filmed). Towards the end of the film, I did have a quasi-epiphany thinking about the notion that matchbooks (for stores, restaurants) were EVERYWHERE in 50’s, 60’s, even 70’s. Then, come modern times, and gonzo! I thought that was a hint that this film was more layered than it’s initial clunkyness leads you to believe.
    Your reviews are truly splendid. This film has been stuck in my bellum-lobes since I watched it, and wow, you’ve just given me another viewing, in your peel-back.
    Never stop! Ha!

    Reply
  2. Taylor Holmes

    Too much. Glad it worked for you. It was a fun little movie. And if I had made it, I’d be extremely happy with the terrible acting and the zero special effects because it all worked at the end of the day. I think it was really similar in essence to ARQ, which, is a really high compliment in my book.

    Thanks again for the recommendation Chris,
    Taylor

    Reply

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