An aging porn star agrees to participate in an "art film" in order to make a clean break from the business, only to discover that he has been drafted into making a pedophilia and necrophilia themed snuff film.
A young woman's quest for revenge against the people who kidnapped and tormented her as a child leads her and a friend, who is also a victim of child abuse, on a terrifying journey into a living hell of depravity.
Events over the course of one traumatic night in Paris unfold in reverse-chronological order as the beautiful Alex is brutally raped and beaten by a stranger in the underpass. Her boyfriend and ex-lover take matters into their own hands by hiring two criminals to help them find the rapist so that they can exact revenge. A simultaneously beautiful and terrible examination of the destructive nature of cause and effect, and how time destroys everything. Written by
The rape scene was shot a number of times and the only constraint on the actors, apart from the beginning and end, was that it didn't run over twenty minutes. See more »
At the party Vincent Cassel gives his characters name as "Vincent" instead of "Marcus." He quickly covers his mistake and saves the scene. See more »
The woman who was attacked is someone you know? You don't feel very good? It's tough... You always think it only happens to other people, but if it happens to you, you are helplessly lost.
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The "N" in the "Studio Canal" logo at the start of the film is backwards. See more »
I'm a sucker for film-world hype--always have been, and probably always will be. When I stumble across a film that is so controversial it inspires both gasps of horror and cheers of praise, I flock to it. There is something intriguing about film's capacity to house unpleasantness, and just how far a director will go in conveying his message (it's always interesting to see whether or not they have a justified reason for the excess). "Irreversible," the backward-structured film from French shock auteur Gaspar Noe ("I Stand Alone") spins you out of control with as much regularity as his camera and characters will allow. It's a curious piece of work designed to provoke the audience--at the beginning, you're disoriented and confused (and, if you're like me, getting carsick from the deliberately erratic camera movements), and even repulsed by the actions of the unfamiliar characters hassling the patrons of a seedy homosexual club, a sequence that ends with a ghastly murder. Okay, then, so what? Clearly the rest of the movie is going to give us an explanation...but would the film have had a similar effect if it were told in a straightforward manner? Is the backward motion of "Irreversible" just a gimmick used by Noe (who is not immune from snobbery and pretension) to draw attention to his film? It's hard to say. Personally, I reject the notion of the reverse storyline being used as a gimmick, simply because of how deliberately the previous pieces fit (certain passages of dialog, particularly a discussion of orgasms that serves as a prelude to one of the most horrifying rape scenes in film history); Noe certainly wasn't asleep in his construction of the film. "Irreversible" displays the type of oppressive misanthropy (the dialog is loaded with racial and homophobic slurs) evidenced in Noe's "I Stand Alone" (the tale of an out-of-work butcher driven to madness by everyone around him), but then pulls back from the hard-edged violence to show a tender humanity that might be even more startling, since the film could have easily played itself for nothing but shock value the entire time. "Irreversible" is an unsettling conundrum that guides us through the highs and lows of the human condition--it pushes buttons of morality, shows in graphic detail what others would only suggest, and brings us out the end of the tunnel exhausted, invigorated, and breathless. A stunning film, somewhat hampered by its excessive dialog.
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