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.
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.
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 first 30 minutes of the film has a background noise with a frequency of 28Hz (low frequency, almost inaudible), similar to the noise produced by an earthquake. In humans, it causes nausea, sickness and vertigo. It was a cause of people walking out of the theaters during the first part of the film in places like Cannes and San Sebastian. In fact, it was added with the purpose of getting this reaction. See more »
When Alex is in the bed with her boyfriend and they get up to dance, the whole film crew is mirrored on the glass of the window. See more »
[dancing with Alex]
Say my name... Marcus... Marcus...
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The capital letter "E" is written backwards in the credits. See more »
Irreversible is of the violent vigilantism genre. I think to elaborate on the storyline further would spoil the film, because it is not knowing what is happening that makes the film what it is.
It is a very good film, but not quite a great one. Why not? Firstly, because the film is effectively played in reverse, you spend parts of the viewing time wondering what on earth is going on - and in a frustrating "lost" way rather than a captivated "held in suspense" way. It is not until near the end that you realise why the characters have been behaving as they have. Also, characters pop up out of nowhere - this has the effect of, at times, going beyond curiosity to create sheer frustration. (Personally, I thought Tarantino's concept of starting the movie in the middle (Reservoir Dogs) was more effective - it created two intriguing questions: what happened before and what happened after? You then got to see the beginning, followed by the end. THAT worked perfectly.) Secondly, rather like I Stand Alone (another Gaspar Noe effort) the violence is gratuitous and excessive. I am not easily shocked or prudish but was it really necessary for the graphic rape scene to last several minutes? There are other violent scenes that also go on for an unrealistically long time - the beatings dished out would, in reality, kill people long before they die in this film. What is the purpose of this? However, I am emphasising the negatives. Don't let this put you off. While frustrating at times, the film being played in reverse is what makes it so brilliantly thought-provoking and thrilling - it's a real brain teaser working it out. Overall, this is a riveting, brilliantly acted and original production. It's a worthy additional to anyone's collection. It's also a great display of how we can jump to the wrong conclusions about people by making snap judgements. The victims aren't victims, and the bad guys aren't bad at all! (Watch the film - then you'll understand.)
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