Irreversible (2002)

Gaspar Noe ♦ 97 mins ♦ Experimental ♦ France

9 9 9 8 8 0
look pace energy feels depth humor

Definitely one of the most notorious in shock cinema history, Gaspar Noe’s examination of all too familiar and universal human constructs offers neither time nor space for relief. The violent and the graphic are the most pronounced at its face; the idyll, fleeting and bittersweet. But like all things bursting with potency, Irreversible delves deeper than most – though it does so with childlike abandon, which, in hindsight might have been the exact reason why a substantial number of critics find it appalling. Irreversible is comfortable with the macabre and at home with the repulsive, yes. And it does seem more a whim than an intelligent choice. But the thing that flew over most people’s heads is it is here – with the scum and the filth – that a different kind of clarity and understanding can be grasped. It is in 9 minute rape scenes captured by a stationary camera – not in 4 or 5 minutes of dynamic camerawork which pans away from the brutality, imposition and dominance – that people can even begin to imagine how being raped then beaten then left for dead would have felt like. To me, this state of mind was what Noe tried to get us into. His ways and means might not be to the liking of most people, but I, for one, think the ends justify the means. I think what he did was just what was needed for what he was trying to do. And what was he trying to do? Well, right at the start (chronological end) of the film, a man said, “Time destroys everything.” Then the film goes on to show us why. It kicks off with the two terrible scenes, retraces its steps and ends with an insightful woman holding a book, lying on her spread on the grass, looking up at the blue sky with light in her lovely eyes while kids play around a nearby sprinkler. At that moment, we are both happy and sad for her. Because time does destroy everything, and there is no way we can ever reverse that.

Full Credits

Director: Gaspar Noé | Producer: Christophe Rossignon | Writer: Gaspar Noé | Cast: Monica Bellucci Vincent Cassel Albert Dupontel Jo Prestia Philippe Nahon | Camera: Benoit Debie Gaspar Noé | Music: Thomas Bangalter | Editing: Gaspar Noé | Production Design: Alain Juteau | Production Management: Serge Catoire Eve Machuel | Makeup: Pierre Chavialle Ghislaine Totereau (hair stylists) Jean-Christophe Spadaccini (special makeup effects artist) | Costume: Laure Culkovic | Sound: Jean-Luc Audy | Casting: Jacques Grant | Production: 120 Films Eskwad Les Cinémas de la Zone Nord-Ouest Productions StudioCanal | Distribution: Mars Distribution (France) Accent Film Entertainment (Australia) Alamode Film (Germany) Alliance Atlantis Communications (Canada) Atlantis Entertainment (Czechoslovakia) BIM Distribuzione (Italy) Comstock (Japan) Distribution Company (Argentina) Frenetic Films (Switzerland) Lions Gate Films (USA) Metro Tartan Distribution Ltd. (UK) Muse Productions (USA) Paradiso Entertainment (Netherlands) |Year: 2002 | Length: 97′ | Genre: Experimental Shock | Spoken Language: French | Subtitles: SRT file (English) | Country: France


4 thoughts on “Irreversible (2002)

    1. It’s okay, star. It really isn’t for everyone eh. What matters is we know and understand the message the director wanted to impart to the audience. And that we do. 🙂

    1. Thanks for the appreciation and the generous support, Angel!

      I just had to write it that way, y’know? (I know you do, hehe.) It’s such a great statement and provocation of a film, that half-assedly writing a review for it would be doing it and everything it stood for great disservice – aside from being in poor writing taste or form.

      Well anyway, thank you for discussing this one with me both on FB and in here. It’s actually one of the main reasons why I put up this blog in the first place: to facilitate discussions about these kinds of films. Am so glad it’s beginning to happen. 🙂

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