Irreversible (2002) Poster

(2002)

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One of the most disturbing and confronting movies ever made.
Infofreak14 July 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Watching 'Irreversible' makes you question why you watch movies. If you just want movies to be entertainment and nothing more then obviously this is not something you will EVER want to see in your life. But if you think that film, like literature, is capable of many things, including looking at horrible and disturbing subject matter that you would prefer not to deal with, then 'Irreversible' is highly recommended. But beware, I feel I have the ability to stand all kinds of extreme material, but even I found it extremely difficult to watch. Writer/director Gaspar Noe previously made the brilliant and confrontational 'I Stand Alone', a movie that unfortunately never reached a wide audience. He manages to top himself with this one. Both movies make a mockery of supposedly "difficult" Hollywood fare like 'American Psycho', 'Fight Club', 'Boys Don't Cry' and 'Requiem For A Dream', which are pure Disney compared to Noe's work! 'Irreversible' has a similar structure popularized (but not originated) in Christopher Nolan's 'Memento'. The plot is told in reverse chronological order. This means that the early parts of the movie show the most distressing and difficult material and as the movie continues it gets progressively lighter, and therefore ends ironically on a happy ending. The opening sequences, after the first more subdued scene (which incidentally features a cameo from 'I Stand Alone' star Philippe Nahon as quite possibly the same character), are the most difficult to watch, not just because of WHAT happens (one of the most extreme and realistic acts of violence I've ever seen in a movie) but the way it is shown, with trippy, disorienting hand-held camera work. Later in the movie we see why this event happened by witnessing a grueling rape sequence which is almost impossible to watch. It is these two scenes which made this movie so notorious, but neither are gratuitous in my opinion, they are just REAL. This is reality. Things like this happen every day. Watching it is horrible yes, but even more horrible is the idea that real people must experience these events in the real world. This is what makes this such a disturbing and powerful movie if you have the stomach for it. On a technical level it is brilliant, and the acting by Monica Bellucci and Vincent Cassel, then still a couple off screen (gossip says this is no longer true), and Albert Dupontel is first rate. 'Irreversible' is obviously not a movie for everyone, but if you think you are up to it it comes with my highest possible recommendation, as does 'I Stand Alone' ('Seul contre tous'). These are two astonishing movies which look at the unlookable, and are literally unforgettable.
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10/10
Cinematic Torture
dbborroughs19 February 2004
If movies are suppose to effect the viewer then this movie is king of the hill. From the dis-orienting camera moves that open the film through the violence in the gay bar, the seemingly never ending rape and the films unraveling of the days events in a backwards march I have yet to meet anyone who has not been deeply effected by this movie - if they were brave enough or stupid enough to watch it. (I'm still trying to figure out a local Best Buy displaying a large number of DVD's as if it was the latest Adam Sandler movie)

It is not an easy movie to watch but as an examination of what people are capable and how violence can come from nowhere and from the unexpected its a masterpiece. The backward structure takes what is essentially a dull revenge story and turns it on its ear as we are forced to really examine how things get out of hand very quickly and what people will do when pushed to the limit.

If you want a challenge to your psyche and can brave simply some of the most vicious and nasty screen violence (yes its graphic but much is also implied) then see this movie - preferably with out distraction. But be warned, even if you think you know what this movie is about and what your limits in screen violence is, you still won't be prepared for what a mental hot foot this film is.
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9/10
Stick with it - not enjoyable, but admirable
sackleywhistle2 September 2003
Warning: Spoilers
After notorious walkouts at Cannes and the controversy around the difficult, long, unrelenting rape scene, this was high on my must-see list of the last year. Not for voyeuristic reasons, but because, like A Clockwork Orange before it, the most controversial films are often those with the most to say.

This is not a date movie. Nor is it a pleasant, enjoyable experience. It is, however, pure cinema from a director working at the highest technical level, with the camera, with lighting, with makeup, with scripting and with performance.

Irreversible is that rare beast, a self-contained experience which goes beyond the cinematic and aesthetic to show something real, both touching and frightening, beautiful and horrific, simple and innovative. The first twenty minutes are among the toughest you will encounter on the screen. The sound whines and hums, the camera spins in all directions, disorientating and showing glimpses of the scene. Dialogue is sparse, the same lines being repeated over and over again. The subject matter is unpleasant, taking place in a seedy gay club, the protagonists (Dupontel and Cassel) searching for someone called the Tenia (named after a tape-worm). And when they find him, there is a sequence which lasts maybe two minutes which is incredibly difficult to watch, yet difficult not to watch. Almost in disbelief, you cannot believe what you are watching is happening, yet marvel at how real it is, both technically and in terms of human character.

Beyond that, the film does not let up for about another half an hour, as the backwards-played story begins to piece itself together, leading to an act of provocation unrivalled in cinema history. My second viewing of the film was with a 21-year-old female who found it the hardest scene she had ever watched. It is the details of the rape that make it so shocking - her constant crying and squirming, his inherent joy at her discomfort, his pinning of her arms and gagging her mouth, the passer-by who sees the scene and walks away, unbeknownst to either of them. And when the long, unsettling scene is over, the greatest act of destruction occurs - the destruction of purity and beauty. Yet, as the film is told backwards, when the rape is over, we know there is more to come as we have already seen the aftermath. The brilliance is in naively praying it won't happen, resigned to the knowledge that it will.

My co-viewer demanded that we stop the film there but i had to insist that she finish the film. Without following the film through to the end(or the beginning), we would not know the reason that the director put these scenes in front of us. For me the greatest scenes are those that follow - the party scene, the subway journey of the three main characters, the post-dream awakening of the central couple - because they lift the film out of enfant terrible provocation and into a place of simultaneous beauty and pessimism, making sense of the journey all three characters are about to embark on. In particular the significance of dreams is a key theme, along with the linear, destructive power of time which the whole film is playing around with.

The film ends with the most difficult sequence to watch, the spinning beautiful image of Monica Bellucci prior to any of the events of the film followed by a strobe light effect which is physically difficult to watch, burning images and words into the brain.

Clearly Noe is a director intent on provoking a reaction and - thank God - it is impossible not to react to this film. You may hate it, you may admire it or you may be disgusted by it. All of these are perfect reactions to it. You cannot be indifferent to it. While it is undoubtedly a hard film to sit through, if you put in the effort it rewards in dividends. And it not only deserves but really requires multiple viewings, if you can stomach it. There is far more than can be taken in on the first visit, much to decipher and interpret that I will not spoil here.

While it does seem to reference the controversy of the aforementioned Kubrick classic - taking the violence and sexual abuse aspects to new levels, updating for a new generation - and even directly tips its hat to Kubrick - panning down from a poster of 2001 as classical music swells, before going into a psychadelic head-trip - this is a much harder, yet more humane film than Kubrick ever achieved. There is unpleasantness here, do not be fooled, but there is also insightful comment on the nature of humanity, instinct, violence, even love and relationships which alone makes the film worthy of appreciation. It is not a film all will be able to sit through - for a start, its subtitled! - but it is a film which deserves to be seen at least once by anyone with an appreciation of cinema. It is among the finest examples of modern French cinema available and one of the most intelligent and original films from anywhere in the last five years.

Finally, it wouldn't be right to hail the film without mentioning the performers. Monica Bellucci is outstanding in an undoubtedly difficult part, conveying the beauty, intelligence, womanliness, emotion and despair of Alex in a way that never screams "Moviestar!" and is always believable. Dupontel is wonderful in perhaps the film's most interesting role, a complex intellectual who, it is often overlooked, gives in to his most primal urges. He is sad, smart, witty and ultimately disturbed. But highest praise goes to Cassel, one of the most interesting actors working, who carries most of the film, emitting charm, energy, fear, shock, humour and weakness. It is hard not to focus on him in any given scene and impossible to catch him acting, high praise indeed given the other subjects which often fill the screen (not least the stunning Bellucci). Together, they are prime examples of true actors giving themselves over completely to their characters in a way that the likes of Nicole Kidman simply can't. They may be stars, but they are first and foremost brilliant performers.

Take caution, but do not miss if you get the chance.
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10/10
The 3 H's: Horrifc, Haunting and Honest
Smells_Like_Cheese19 September 2010
Warning: Spoilers
A few months ago while I was going through the message boards on IMDb, someone was talking about disturbing films and one that seemed to come up the most was a film called Irreversible. This film has come up in discussion so many times when the subject of disturbing film is brought to attention. When I think I've seen the worst of the worst, I figured I should see what Irreversible had to offer. I have to admit after watching this movie, it stayed with me. Definitely not being the easiest movie to watch, Irreversible has a style to it and a very disturbing story that can haunt many for different reasons. Wither it's the extreme violence, the cursing, the drugs or the 9 minute rape scene, Gasper Noe takes you into this very dark world and doesn't let you go.

The beginning of Irreversible (that is, the chronological end of the story) features two men going to a homosexual S&M nightclub called "The Rectum." Minutes earlier, the men named Marcus and Pierre, are escorted out of that nightclub by the police. Marcus is on a stretcher, apparently injured, and Pierre is in handcuffs. Earlier that evening, Marcus and Pierre arrived at the club in a frantic search for somebody nicknamed le Tenia. Marcus finds the man believed to be le Tenia and attacks him. The man pins down Marcus, then snaps his arm. Pierre rescues Marcus by bludgeoning the attacker's face using a fire extinguisher, brutally and fatally crushing the man's skull after repeated blows. During the onslaught, the real le Tenia is seen to be amused by the situation. It is revealed that le Tenia raped Marcus's girlfriend Alex, and placed her in a coma by beating her severely.

Filmed backwards I thought was extremely brilliant, at least the way I interpret it. We see EXTREME violence and sexuality in the beginning, pretty much being up front that this movie is going to be very uncomfortable and not a movie for all. Gasper Noe is basically telling the audience "what you see is what you get", not trying to pull you into something you might not want to be apart of. It also shows that these two men who kill this man violently are possibly the bad guys? No, it turns out as we discover that a woman they both love has been brutally raped and beaten. Then when we meet her, she's not just some woman who is the girlfriend of one of men trying to get revenge or a girl at a party dressed in a skimpy outfit, this is a woman who is walking out of a party trying to get home and comes across the "wrong place, wrong time" situation. The rape scene, reason being that it's so different than any other rape scene you might have viewed in another film, it's long, one angle and the words that come out of the rapist's mouth are just awful. It's the most realistic rape scene I've viewed and I have to warn you that please, if you have a weak stomach or have had that horrific experience, this is not a movie for you.

Irreversible is definitely violent, there is a scene that most people debate which is more disturbing, the rape or the fire extinguisher. The fire extinguisher is at the beginning of the film and is definitely realistic and beyond disturbing, because you see everything. Also the hatred behind the killer is just there, he has no remorse for what he is doing. Then when we find out later that he kills the wrong guy, it just makes it that more brutal. Gasper Noe also films the movie in the worst way in the beginning making the audience sick with his spinning camera and disturbing noises. He doesn't lie to you, he knows this film is going to be one of the most frightening pieces of work you'll see, and he doesn't want you comfortable with it. Irreversible is one of the hardest films for me to recommend because it just depends on what kind of a viewer you are. If you can handle extreme violence, sexuality and language, you could get through this. I watched A Clockwork Orange when I was a teenager and hated it because I felt that Kubrick was trying to make me sympathize with Alex, before watching Irreversible, I re-watched A Clockwork Orange and realized I missed the whole message of the film. It wasn't about Alex, but our society and I have the greatest admiration for the film now. Irreversible shows how we can go from hating someone to understanding their position to rooting for them. Are we the animals? Irreversible will have you thinking for days, this is a film I will never forget.

10/10
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some of the most disturbing scenes ever
Buddy-5128 June 2004
Warning: Spoilers
If there's one thing that can be stated with utmost certainty, it is that `Irreversible,' a French film by writer/director Gaspar Noe, is not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach. In fact, this tale of the brutal rape of a helpless young woman is one of the most harrowing films ever made and features two of the most graphic scenes ever committed to film: the rape itself and the killing of the man responsible for the rape.

Although I imagine that very few people will end up subjecting themselves to this film in the long run, those who do will witness an amazing piece of work in many ways. Like the movie `Betrayal' from 1983, `Irreversible' tells its story in reverse chronological order. It begins with a frenzied man racing through a gay sex club, madly searching for someone we know merely as Le Tenia. Only as the story develops - as we are taken ever further back in time - do we begin to understand what is going on: that this young man, Marcus, is seeking vengeance on the rapist who has brutally attacked his pregnant girlfriend. Noe keeps us in a state of confusion by filming the scene in such a way as to reflect the maniacal state of Marcus' revenge-obsessed mind. The camera bounces around in epileptic confusion while the audience attempts to get its bearings. Eventually, as the filmmakers backtrack to reveal the events that have led up to this moment, the camera calms down and we get to see the whole ugly story acted out in painfully graphic detail. In fact, in the rape scene itself, Noe reverses his filmmaking style 180 degrees, deliberately leaving the camera stationary and focused on the event as it plays itself out. He simply won't allow us to stop looking.

There are some, I imagine, who might object to this film on moral grounds, feeling that it is little more than a cynical exploitation picture with artistic pretensions. Yet that condemnation would do a disservice to the makers of this film who, I believe, do not want us to revel in the sordidness of what we see, but rather to be appalled by the unspeakably brutal way in which human beings can treat their fellow human beings. By having us sit and witness every moment of this brutality without the comforting filter of cutaway shots or easy dissolves, Noe forces us to face the ugly truths about ourselves as a species. The reverse-order structure of the film heightens the tragic nature of the story for it allows us to see just how happy and hopeful these characters are in the time right before the rape shatters their lives. The latter half of the film contains no physical violence, yet watching it unfold is an ineffably sad experience, for we, unlike the characters themselves, are privy to the Sword of Damocles so precariously poised over their unsuspecting heads, yet find ourselves helpless in being able to rescue them from the inevitable destruction it will cause. Thus, the structure robs us of even the remotest option of hoping against hope that the tragedy can somehow be avoided - for we have seen it as an already completed action. For while the film may be `reversible,' life itself is not. In the case of this film, at least, form does, indeed, become content.

Vincent Cassel as Marcus, Monica Bellucci as his girlfriend, Alex, and Albert Dupontel as their mutual friend, Pierre, all deliver excellent, heartfelt performances.

I doubt that many people will have the intestinal fortitude to make it through large segments of this film, but those who do will surely never forget what they've seen.
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8/10
Unforgettably Cruel and Disturbing
claudio_carvalho6 August 2004
Warning: Spoilers
I have been watching movies for decades, and as far as I remember, only three movies have disturbed me. The first one was `Soldier Blue', when I was a teenager, explicitly showing the massacre of the American Indians. Later, in 1982, `Sophie's Choice', when a mother has to decide which son shall remain alive. `Irreversible', which I saw yesterday, was the third one. The storyline is very simple: In Paris, a young couple goes to a party with a friend by subway. They discuss, and the woman decides to return back home alone. She is violently raped in an underground passage. Her husband and her friend decide to make justice by themselves. What makes the difference in this polemic movie? First of all, like in `Memento', the story is presented backwards, in a reverse chronology, from the credits to the beginning. Although not being original, unfolded this way, the story shocks much more. Then, the cruelty of at least two very explicit scenes (the rape of Alexandra and the aggression and crime of Pierre in the gay night-club) are amazingly well choreographed and real. The beginning of the film, with the camera spinning randomly, and a weird soundtrack, makes the viewer sick and so disoriented and disturbed as Marcus, the character of Vincent Cassel. Therefore, technically this film is outstanding. The performance of the cast and the direction, photography and soundtrack are stunning. Living in Rio de Janeiro, a violent city, the story is very real and scary, and that is why it shakes up more than a horror movie. We never believe that this situation may happen to ourselves or to our friends, but the daily newspaper shows many similar examples. The idea of the irreversibility of time and its destruction, the same way of the lives of the characters in this movie, is fantastic. Certainly a very sensitive person will be sick and will not like this movie. The box of the DVD should advise that this story is recommended to a specific audience. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): `Irreversível' (`Irreversible')
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8/10
A sad, depressing movie.
CTzen9 February 2004
A lot has been said about this movie. Yes, there are a couple of brutal and violent scenes. It's even hard to watch at times, but Irreversible is much more than that.

I personally think that the acting is great. There's a natural chemistry between the 3 main characters. Monica Bellucci does a wonderful job as Alex. I give her a lot credit for being involved in such difficult role.

I really like the way the story was told. Some people say that it's a rip off of Memento, and that it doesn't work well in this movie, but I have to disagree. The movie "starts" in a dark way, with a lot of graphic images and violence. But at the end there's this kind of peace, a little dose of happiness..."the calm before the storm". It works really well, and that's what make this a really sad story.

I really recommend this film. But like I said before, it can be hard to watch. Just watch it with an open mind and give it a try.
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8/10
Hits you in the face like a ten ton hammer!
Coventry14 February 2004
Holy Macaroni! Believe the hype, folks...this really IS one of the most shocking, confronting and raw movies ever made! It actually is one of those rare purchases that makes you wonder what the role of cinema is in modern society. Irréversible certainly can't be classified as 'entertainment', that's for sure. It merely looks like a brutal eye-opener, highly unpleasant to watch at times and it sometimes makes you even feel ashamed to be human! Some of the stuff here goes beyond your most feared nightmares and could easily provoke depression, anti-social behavior and anxiety among influential viewers. It's real-life drama and that makes it so powerful and shocking. Irréversible is told backwards, 'Memento'-style if you wish...only it's a lot more effective here as it was in Memento, which actually was a pretty boring and extremely overrated movie. This very simple backwards-structure aspect gives Irréversible the opportunity to implement a couple of unique and rarely seen style elements. The first half hour (which actually is the end of the story) smacks you in the face right away sets the tone for a non-stop, raw experience. Also, you don't really get to know the characters until the last chapter (which is actually the beginning of the film) The characters are a riddle to you constantly and you can't symphatise with any of them, since you just know too little. Through wild camera movements and simplistic techno-music, a claustrophobic and horrifying atmosphere gets created and the violence is really hard to digest. The infamous scene in which Monica Belluci brutally gets raped is one of the most perverted things I've ever seen. It seems to go on forever and you can really visiualise the painful hell the poor girl is going through. I'd call Irréversible a successful combination of ancient, rough exploitation and modern art-house film-making. The brutality portrayed here is typical for the euro-shock cinema but the stylish shooting lifts it up to Cannes Festival material. Cult as pure as it comes!
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10/10
Today I'm dirty, tomorrow just dirt - Time, deeds, man
Bogey Man28 June 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Argentinian born French film maker Gaspar Noé is already one of the most important and powerful film makers of all time. His 1998 debut feature film Seul Contre Tous is an unforgettably merciless but also so uniquely rewarding depiction of rotten society with even more rotten human beings that inhabit it with their selfishness and potential to violence and revenge - those things that everyone feels sometimes, more or less often, and things that only create more of them when not kept inactive and off. The last 15 minutes of Seul Contre Tous include some of the most unimaginably brilliant editing and camerawork (including a body-mounted camera and clever communication/estranging with the unsuspecting audience) not to speak of the soundtrack, which force us to see the truth about ourselves and things around us. Those mentioned elements are also the same that stamp the work of Japanese film maker Shinya Tsukamoto (Tetsuo in 1988, Gemini in 1999) who is also a friend of Noé. These two directors do most of the important parts of their film making themselves (camera operating, editing, directing, writing..) and both have the talent to smash the viewer straight to the face and force him and her to think and even change towards something better. Now Noé has even surpassed his power and moment of total breathlessness of Seul Contre Tous with his 2002 film Irréversible, a masterpiece that has the same ability to change people's lives and attitudes towards a better world, but with the kind of power of imagery and soundtrack that only few, unfortunately, as films like these deserved more attention and respect, are willing to accept and understand.

Alex (Monica Bellucci), Marcus (Vincent Cassel) and Pierre (Albert Dupontel) are three French friends who live peacefully and also in love, as Alex and Marcus are together and love each other genuinely. Alex has also been with Pierre but their thing didn't work and now they are only friends and all three get along more than well. Comes a weekend night and time to go to have some fun with more friends. Then, as some alcohol and drugs are involved, comes some arguing with the lovers and Alex decides to go home to sleep and leave her drunken boyfriend to dance alone. Unfortunately for all (but fortunately for the real ill world and audience for whom this film with its message is made for) she meets the most evil thing ever possible to live inside the flesh and bones of human being and a terrible rape takes place. How does man with his instincts react when he learns something terrible and violent has happened to his loved one and there's also a possibility to get to know who did it? Revenge is a human need has the mighty director said and the man's potential for mindless violence, lack of moral and willing to take revenge are the main themes of this important film and it all is told with so much genius and unique elements the film already belongs to the list of the unmatched and the films that managed to make and achieve something for the first time in the history.

The film is told backwards so that we'd see even clearlier what results from what and then we are forced to ask ourselves why, which requires to look inside our own heads and souls and look into the mirror. The film begins with the most infernal 20 minutes of the whole movie history and culminates to the most graphically violent and mentally and physically shocking sequence ever created that leaves no questions for what is the real nature of violence, and thus revenge, like. The incredible colors, lights and darkness of the beginning are already something very powerful and unique, but are accompanied even further by truly incredible usage and movements of camera as it twists and shakes in agony of forthcoming and present terror for the whole beginning of the film. The film has only 19 or so parts/scenes as it's told without single edits inside the parts. The form is very convincing and unconventional and naturally makes it even more realistic and easy to connect to our own world. Those who blame the disturbingly strobing, pounding and restless (sonic) imagery of the beginning don't know how much camera is in cinema and how a talented maker can use it, depict and show with it. It is Hell we're witnessing at the beginning of Irréversible so why would've Noé made it look peaceful, calm and harmless as it's all really bad and wicked even and especially for those who support it as we soon learn at the Rectum finale. It is Hell that can be found anywhere where humans live, be and do deeds together and to one another.

Noé's camerawork is definitely something very difficult to imagine to be created and the director has said in interviews that there were indeed some segments (mostly the party sequence) when he thought he'd become crazy as it all was so difficult to do and keep in control. The camera is not so wild and restless after the beginning as there isn't even a reason for that, again an example of what does camera mean in cinema and how it must be used without being gratuitous or meaningless. The crane shots of the beginning of the story but the ending of the film are also breathtaking and hypnotic and also show for one last time what is another key element of (the) film alongside the imagery: the soundtrack and music, sounds and voices of the film. The soundtrack consists of menacing, pounding and with one word infernal sounds and also electric music, but those waves are the ones that are not likely to be found from any other film. The sounds make the happenings of the screen look like how they are inside the film and how they would be if and when something like that happened in real life. Never have I experienced and heard the soundtrack strengtening the images as it does in Irréversible. I had one of the year 2002's greatest and unforgettable moments when I saw the film on big screen, which it demands, and I will never forget the feelings I had during the opening of the film, and after I had read about the elements and creating of the soundtrack, I understood even more about the uneasiness of myself and the audience as well as the genius of its creator. If one decides not to agree with Noé about the anti-violent message of the film, he will be smashed numb in front of the images and sounds whether he wanted it or not.

The point of the unspeakable violence of the film is to make it look and feel as bad and irreversible as in real world too. When the revenge takes place and we experience something extremely ugly and both physically and mentally painful Noé forces us to see the things that the avenging minds don't see, at least in time, how violence always requires more of it as human beings are pretty much the same animal and we all share these instincts and potential which still could and can be fought against. The revenge and its destroying face comes clear when we ask ourselves who did, what did, to whom did and finally why did, and when the viewer admits those things and accepts the answers the message Noé meant has been delivered. In films violence can be harrowingly brutal, shocking and graphic without being gratuitous and just cheap exploitation shock, and that is the case with Noé's work as in any other important film that builds and gives, and never takes/exploits anything by raping the tool of cinema. After the Rectum finale, only a stupid and a weak mind can think that any wise decisions were made, after the fateful rape, by the characters, humans.

Also the infamous crime scene that started it all is so easy to be judged as "unacceptable" and, even more laughably, "pornographic", as now it is nothing less than effective and useful for its purpose, useful to show the nature of sexual violence and how it really is, ugly, nauseating, sadistic and without respect for human life. If someone asks why such a long scene of rape must be filmed as those kind of things happen in real world all the time, the answer is a new question: since those things happen around us all the time and other tools have not been able to stop them or other violence in our world, why couldn't an artist try his own extremely powerful tool (cinema, image and sound) to change and affect things and people? Can there be enough weapons to stop those things happening around us and why the attempts of cinema and a film maker so often are overlooked and not given the acceptance and importance they deserved? Perhaps because they show too much about our very selves and to admit it, that everyone of us is just a human, is too difficult for many.

Another important theme of the film is that of its title, how things and deeds are and remain how they once get done, and the more serious and critical the deed is, the more we look and think about it afterwards, still never being able to change it once it's been done as time is so merciless. Beautiful, sunny and sweet things full of life can turn into destruction, darkness, agony, death and eternal loss especially if wrong and fast decisions are made and too much power for the animal instincts are given. Noé's phrase "time destructs everything" is more than true, but also, to some extent, possible to be affected by us who live this world and life so that no more destruction than there already is would take place. Too often precious things get killed because we didn't understand and see early enough, and that's why films like this are universal and eternally fresh in their themes. The film is not thoroughly pessimistic and hopeless due to certain images of beauty and possibility; the images of the beginning were destructed by a happening not possible to be prevented but the total death and Hell could have been prevented, and that's why we, the audience see it first.

The actors all do incredible job as there wasn't a script for the film, only a few written pages about the main happenings and parts of the story so all the dialogue was improvised by Noé's instructions and the three do it very naturally and it is not possible to guess there wasn't a screenplay for them without knowing it. In any possible aspect this film is unique and like no other: it was made like no other, it includes images and sounds like no other, and it has a theme and message so strong like no other film (some getting close) in the whole history of movie making. Great art doesn't need to be conventional and like the other works of its kind, and possibly the greatest thing an artist can achieve is a new, powerful, view and way to present it. That Noé achieved and delivered. He did a masterpiece in 1998 and he did another, even more powerful masterpiece in 2002. Both films are perfect in my values and thus among the most important works ever made. Noé did these two and he's still young and full of ideas about themes and elements which he will use in his forthcoming projects. He must not be left outside the canon of the most important masters and philosophers of cinema like some other have, and the world doesn't even know how much it gets if the financers of his films would understand this too. It is like I and the other audience didn't know what was to come when the hypnotic credits of Irréversible started to roll on the silent screen. 10/10
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10/10
Brilliant!
HumanoidOfFlesh29 January 2003
Warning: Spoilers
I am very surprised to see all of the negative complaints towards this film.Like "I Spit on Your Grave" or "I Stand Alone","Irreversible" is only rubbish to those who don't understand it,or don't want to understand it.Gaspar Noe tells us the story about love and revenge-a pregnant young woman(outstanding Monica Bellucci)is violently raped and tortured in the underground passage.Her boyfriend(Vincent Cassel)desperately tries to find her rapist to kill him.The infamous Monica Bellucci's anal rape scene is truly brutal and sickening,but at least the film can't be accused of eroticizing,trivializing or glamourizing rape,something many mainstream movies are guilty of.It actually shows that rape is a brutal and disgusting act.Congratulations should go to this stunningly beautiful actress for her brave performance.It's obvious that women should be treated with respect,unfortunately this is the kind of a sexual violence women are dealing with everyday and everywhere.In that case Cassel's savage behaviour is completely justified.The scenes in "Rectum" are genuinely nightmarish and infernal.The film will leave you shaken and desolated,so if you want to see something totally mind-shattering,then "Irreversible" is a must-see.An absolute 10 out of 10.
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Unbearable and Horrific- You Must Read This
cameronclan573 August 2004
Warning: Spoilers
This very suffocating film is by far the most brutal and graphic piece of work done in a long time. Although the camera work is technically excellent it is overshadowed by the savage scenes which surround it; from the moment Pierre smashes a mans skull and brain to jelly with a fire extinguisher you realize that this inhuman film ranks up there with the most vile and grim ones around. If this seen was not gut- wrenching enough then the very disturbing rape scene that followed simply made the last scene look average. The director's goal was to make the viewer feel as uncomfortable as possible but at the same time make you really understand. Each time the 'Tenia' is shown brutally raping his victim (Monica Belluci) you find it unbearable to watch, smartly the director may use another camera view so that you see less. You might then think it's over and you feel a sign of relief-wrong. Immediately you are thrown right back into the deep end and you begin to drown in her pain and terrible suffering as this very sick and deranged predator keeps going. At times I actually questioned whether it was in my right to watch this, am I watching this because I enjoy watching or am I so disgusted and surprised by the tragedy that I need to know the full extent. For whatever reason there is the director definitely gained my utmost sympathy for this woman and triggered my rage and anger for this rapist. What struck me even more was the fact that after you suffer this scene, which seems to last forever the 'Tenia' then goes on to severely beat his victim to a pulp- how nice as if she had not suffered enough. I could tell you of the brilliant filmwork or the brilliant acting by Vincent Cassel (La Haine, Doberman) and Monica Belluci (The Passion of the Christ, The Matrix Reloaded/Revolutions) but we the viewer are simply engulfed by the sadistic atrocities that are the sad highlight of this film. I will say that if you really want to find the hatred within yourself against cold blooded killers and rapists then this film will trigger it. I wouldn't recommend this film to someone in a conversation about films unless the very highly unlikely scenario of rape surfaced. Despite this I wish you could see this film just to understand the full extent of the harsh encounters people have in life, and even if you can't fully watch then only glimpses will do the damage. The background music just to mention is quite daunting and further enhances the surreal and uncomfortable atmosphere.
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7/10
more than the sum of its shocks
Jonny_Numb10 July 2005
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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Challenging and unsuccessful but worth seeing as part of experiencing the diverse world of cinema and creativity, pleasant or not
bob the moo17 February 2008
When his girlfriend Alex is brutally raped in an underpass, boyfriend Marcus and Alex's ex-boyfriend Pierre are approached by a couple of criminal types who claim to know who did it and lead Marcus on the path to revenge via hookers and a man in a brutal gay club known as the Rectum.

I shan't waste my time or yours by writing more of a plot to this film than that because this is all quite thin stuff. Normally I find myself gradually engaged by a film as it develops characters and stories however with Irréversible I was gripped immediately but the effect worked in reverse, just like the film. Others have asked why this film is told backwards, with some waxing lyrical about the film demonstrating the nature of actions and consequences. I don't buy this and I almost believe that the film is structured this way because Noé knows that his film is not good enough to engage the audience with the development of the story and characters to the point where they would still care by the end. Whereas, by starting with his biggest and most impacting sequences he has preventing the audience thinking "this is going nowhere" by putting us right where it is going to.

Of course what this means is that the film genuinely has nowhere to go to because the developmental issue is still there – albeit the need to see roots rather than branches. With this there is nothing and I felt myself becoming more and more disappointed with the film as it went on as it seemed to offer nothing but missed potential. Unlike Memento (which was a thriller with the reason being to find out what caused the end), Irréversible's ending is an act of violence and revenge that, in essence occurs out of bad fortune rather than a series of events that are worth holding out for. With this in mind the focus comes more on the characters and their relationships to find a reason to make the impacting opening to the film feel that much more impacting. Sadly it does fall down and despite some interesting stuff that might have gone somewhere (if not to the actual crime), themes of sexual intimacy, differences in men and women and so on are just suggested but never delivered upon and my interest and respect for the film waned frighteningly quickly.

It is a terrible shame because the film had initially won me over quickly. With the first shots of spinning camera, "irrelevant" men and disorientating delivery I prepared myself to hate this film and slate it for being pretentious. This feeling didn't subside much as we were thrown into a gay club ending with an intensely brutal scene of violence that quite sickened me. The reason for this is almost the following scene where we see the beautiful and classy Alex brutally and meaninglessly sodomised on the floor of a dirty underpass for no other reason than being in the wrong place at the wrong time and the wrong sex. With my eyes at the time I found these scenes to be quite brilliant but finding out later there was nothing beyond them I take a dimmer view. In his defence, Noé's sequences should not be mentioned in the same breath as the recent Holly wood trend for torture porn because there is nothing erotic here. The rape scene in particular is disturbing, sickening and based on violence, certainly not sex, attraction or arousal. Some comments on IMDb have disturbed me and shown that some people will still "enjoy" these scenes – one particular comment saying "fans of rape movie will appreciate" the sequence I felt was in particular poor taste. However for me it is as effective as it is unpleasant, Noé does not adopt the angles, style or nudity of pornography and indeed leaves the camera on the floor and lets the actors deliver an experience that is undeniably cruel and wrong. Viewers who chose to get off on that will do so however for those of us not stimulated by the violent degradation of another the effect will be harrowing.

The cast are good where they are caught up in things. Cassel is convincing in his revenge scenes but has less to work with in the later (earlier) scenes. Likewise Bellucci is amazing in her key scene; utterly convincing and heart-wrenching in her agony and I can only imagine how difficult it was for her to shoot. Dupontel is interesting but his performance would have benefited from going from innocence to violence and not the other way round. Prestia is a convincing human version of Satan, who is sickeningly real. Noé's direction is impressive even if his ability as writer is not. His camera earlier on matches the frantic violent mood of his characters but gradually calms down. Quite what he is saying with where the film goes or how it ends is beyond me but by then he had done sufficiently little to convince that I shouldn't worry myself too much.

Overall an impacting "experience" film that starts out with the potential to be a challenging and difficult art film. However with nothing past these scenes of significant value, the backward telling just seems like a way of having the "big" scenes before losing the audience, rather than afterwards and for all my appreciation and admiration for his intense and creative technique as director, I found Noé the writer to be lacking. In summary I'm not sure if I liked this or not or if it is worth seeing but it is certainly an experience that should be seen by those looking for a diverse taste of cinema whether it is "enjoyable" or not.
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Yikes
Xploitedyouth13 February 2004
Warning: Spoilers
If there was ever a film that made you want to take a shower afterwards, this is it. I felt dirty, and upset, and confused, but mostly disgusted. Within the first twenty minutes, we witness some various depravities at a gay S&M club called The Rectum, a man get his head crushed in by a fire extinguisher, and a she-male prostitute being assaulted at knife point. Within the following twenty minutes, we see a woman getting savagely raped and beaten for ten plus minutes. The trick here is, we see these events backwards. Like MEMENTO, Christopher Nolan's brilliant 2000 film, IRREVERSIBLE has a reverse chronology. So really, the depravity and beatings I mentioned are really the end of the film, and the beginning is the end. The story revolves around Marcus (Vincent Cassel) and Alex (Monica Belluci), a young couple who are deeply in love. She is the woman who was raped and beaten, and Marcus spends the first (last) half of the movie seeking revenge, with his best friend and her ex-lover Pierre (Albert Dupontel) in tow. The first half of the film is extremely tough to get through. The scenes in the gay bar and Alex's rape seem to never end, and we're forced to take in some truly disgusting sights. The man who is killed with the fire extinguisher suffers the no-exaggeration most violent death in film history. I'm not sure quite how the effect was done, but it made me cringe, and I've seen it all. Usually, in scenes where people are beaten to death, we see quick cuts of their bloody face, followed by some shots of the attacker from the back as they do their deed. Here, director Gaspar Noe keeps the camera stationary, right next to the victim's head. It's an amazing shot, but one that will deeply disturb me the rest of my days. By the end of the film, things are more pleasant, but a great sense of melancholy still covers the scene because we know what's going to happen later. The ultimate goal of the film proves not to be a violent exploitation piece but a portrayal of the tragic crime of rape. I can't, in good conscience, recommend this film. It's too disturbing, and what's more, features some of the most nauseating camera-work I've ever seen. I don't have a problem, per se, with trick photography, but I'd like it to have a point. The camera moves underneath people, a couple stories above them, and sometimes just spins around and around in a stationary position. There's a shot at the end (beginning) of a spinning lawn sprinkler, with a child running around it, while the camera spins like Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, as operated by a crack fiend. In the end, I understand what the film wanted to do, and I respect it. But there are subtler ways to make a point, and when you're going to use the most graphic images ever put on film, you'd better have a stronger and more oblique message than 'Rape is bad.'
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3/10
Overrated shock value, devoid of any real art, and not a particularly good film...
GrigoryGirl9 March 2008
This film is ugly, brutal, depressing, visceral, and hopeless. The first time I saw it, I was devastated. I reeled for days afterwards. But seeing it a 2nd time, I didn't care for it as much, in fact, I feel I've been had. Its impact is really felt the first time you see it, because seeing it the 2nd time, you realise a lot of things about it that aren't particularly good. Most of the dialogue is poor (most of it was improvised, and not very well), the violence of the film is purposely over the top, and Noe the director seems to delight in showing nasty stuff without really bringing a sense of art to it. He enjoys rubbing your face in the sleazy, horrific violence, but has no purpose other than saying "life is brutal". I can't deny that the film did have a great impact upon first viewing, but too often when one's sense are assaulted (like they are here), you can mistake that for great, artistic film-making.

Technically, the film is astounding. It was shot mostly in long takes, but edited together with CGI effects (the smashing of the head in the gay bar at the beginning was done digitally, as part of the rape scene). It's definitely a curiosity, but realise what you're getting into. It's really not for the squeamish. The opening scene in the gay bar is dizzying and brutal, and the rape scene is beyond brutal. Noe films the rape scene in one take, which makes it even more difficult to watch. Is the film art? No, it isn't. Simply because the film polarized audiences doesn't make it art (a common assumption by people). Noe's films (he's only complete 2 features) aren't really deep or anything, just pessimistic and brutal.

A telling episode about Noe happened a year or so ago. The IFC Theater in NYC has a feature they do occasionally. They bring in a filmmaker to introduce a film they admire. Noe showed his first film, I Stand Alone, and Pasolini's Salo. After Noe's film concluded, he talked to the audience on why he wanted to show Salo. All he talked about was the coprophilia scenes (aka the s**t eating scenes). He didn't talk about anything else that Salo had to offer (in terms of its message on fascism, sexual perversion, the cinematography, the production design). Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom is actually an excellent film. It's incredibly depressing and brutal, but has a real sense of art and is a genuinely controversial film, even to this day. Noe's films (he's made only 2) are not like this at all. Both I Stand Alone and Irreversible hit you in the face the first time you see them, but you shake it off, and Noe has nothing more to give you. This film has no resonance at all. It's just for shock value.
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2/10
Usefulness highly questionable
max-fabigan17 December 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Maybe i've gotten too old for the kind of raw violence that is shown in this movie, or maybe i've seen too much of it myself.

Movies are good in my opinion if they fulfill one of two criteria, and preferably both: A movie has to be either enjoyable or it has to be able to give you some perspective on something you didn't have before or at best an entirely new idea.

Neither is the case here. Yes the world can be a horribly cruel and violent place - self destructive drug abuse, rape, manslaughter, murder. It's all there and plenty of it too. But why make or watch a movie that does nothing but wrap all those things up in 90 minutes in the course of one night? It so desperately tries to come across as thoughtful, innovative or even philosophical (camera panning and twisting until the brink of complete nausea) wanting to do disguise that it's nothing but a snuff-film.

If you want to watch a good movie that deals with reverse chronology, watch Memento. If you want to see a good movie about cause and effect, watch Run Lola Run. If you want to feel bad and somewhat guilty for even staying with it to the end, watch this one I guess.

Some might say that the acting in this one is excellent. That's debatable. If the quality of acting is only measured in authenticity, then yes, the entire cast does their job incredibly well.

But is it a sign of integrity to agree to portray the role of a rapist, doing a several minute long, no-cut-scene rape that is so shockingly realistic that it's hard to watch? Is it a sign of integrity to agree to the role of the rape victim? I'm not sure, I'm not even sure what i'd do if I was offered the role. Probably hard to turn down, because after all, it's money lost if you turn it down.

Nevertheless, this is far from a must-see. If you wanna see some authentic violence and an example of how horribly wrong things can go in just one night, sit down and "enjoy". In any other case, I suggest you stay away from this one.
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8/10
Will The Beauty Save The World?
Galina_movie_fan9 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
The plot of the film is simple: a woman (Monica Belucci) is brutally raped by a stranger; and her boyfriend (Vincent Cassel) and ex-boyfriend (Albert Dupontel) who are best friends set out for revenge. What is crucial, the story is told backward.

The most obvious success for this film is the directing by Noe. He has crafted a nightmare that is both original and horrifying. If the inferno exists somewhere, one of its circles definitely looks like the "The Rectum" bar, and the other - like the underpass where Alex (Monica Belucci) was brutally sodomized and beaten for long nine minutes that seemed as an eternity. The pulsing score that accompanies the film contains, for the first sixty minutes, a constant 27-hertz tone specifically designed by Noé to cause nausea in the audience. It felt like someone was constantly drilling the holes in my head. The director creates the scenes of such pain and violence that makes "Natural Born Killers" look and feel like a puppet show. One of these is a scene where a man gets his head bashed in with a fire extinguisher with the camera never turned away and the sound is amplified.

The movie shocks you, and then it goes and shocks you even more when there is no violence on the screen. I broke in tears during the bedroom scene - so much love, tenderness and desire Monica and Vincent had for each other. They did not know what was ahead; I did.

In the end, one cannot help questioning the very fragile, illusory nature of happiness, how easy it is to destroy everything. Is it a blessing or curse not to know what lies ahead and not be able to change the future?

Dostoevsky said almost hundred and fifty years ago that the Beauty will save the world. I don't know. Not this world. Not during my time.

'Irreversible' is a shocking anti-violence film; one has to decide whether he or she wants to see it. I personally think it is a must see but I would not be surprised if a lot of viewers refuse. It took me a very long time to see it. I am glad I did.
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10/10
Visceral, shocking, groundbreaking genius
wheatdog23 March 2005
I have seen this film only once. It needs multiple viewings, I feel, to fully appreciate it's merit. This is something that will come in time but I felt it was only right to comment after my first impression. I instantly gave the film 10 out of 10, not because I overly enjoyed it (nigh on impossible) but because it shook me, at times, to my very core and affected me in a way that I cannot easily or fully describe. I can honestly say Irreversible is the most devastating piece of cinema I've ever witnessed. This isn't solely due to it's shocking content but more so the production as a whole and how it has been constructed and packaged. It truly is a work of art. Camera-work, lighting, colour (primarily gaudy, striking tones of red and orange) all combine in an unforgettable amalgam of brilliance. Featuring towering performances from Cassel, Belluci and Dupontel the film lurches backward in time depicting the events of a truly tragic night in the lives of three friends. Alex (Belluci) is brutally raped on her way home from a party and Marcus (Cassel) and Pierre (Dupontel) set off determined to wreak vengeance on the perpetrator. However, that is merely the plot. Admittedly quite a simple premise but the way it is played out is unforgettable. This is a film that everyone should and arguably needs to see as it is, for me, a milestone of modern cinema. Raw and unflinching, can you stomach it?
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9/10
A brutal depiction of life that will make you question the nature of cinema and entertainment. Warning: Spoilers
Director Gasper Noe is no stranger to controversy as his film prior to Irreversible ended up being censored for its containment of real, albeit blurred, porn images. The genius behind Irreversible then is the way in which it cleverly defies censorship through unfolding the action backwards and in single, uninterrupted takes forcing the audience to witness a climactic and terrifying beginning set against an almost optimistic and happier end.

The plot of the film is purely and simply a 'rape and revenge' tale, with the crucial difference being that it is filmed in reverse. This means that after a bizarre, seemingly unrelated conversation between two men, the camera dizzyingly moves out of the window to the Rectum nightclub below, opening the film with the lead character, Marcus (Vincent Cassel) being led away by the police. Moments later, we see the horrifically brutal act of violence that led to his arrest, then Marcus discovering the badly beaten body of his wife Alex (Monica Bellucci), followed by the deeply shocking and powerful nine-minute central scene in which Alex is horrifically attacked both mentally and physically, anally-raped and then brutally beaten after she tragically walks through a subway underpass.

This, admittedly, is extremely uncomfortable to sit through and there were numerous reports of walkouts when the film screened at both the Cannes and Edinburgh film festivals. However, the structure of the film means that, perversely and paradoxically, Noe provides his film with a happy ending, since the film leaves us with beautifully intimate and sometimes humorous scenes involving Alex and Marcus as lovers in bed whilst Alex discovers she is pregnant.

Visually, the film is extremely impressive as the swooping camera relentlessly follows the actors, plunging us into a world of horrific nightmares and sexual depravity. The fact that the camera never cuts away with each scene lasting up to ten minutes long means that the audience is never given any space to breath and cannot escape the reality of what is happening before us. Similarly, Cassel, Bellucci and Dupontel as their mutual friend, are exceptional through their immensely tender, naturalistic and no doubt-improvised dialogue. The reversal effect of the film is both technically and mentally stunning as the audience in its position of safety and authority examines and replays the films unfolding with a deeper understanding and resonance for the tragedy and horror on screen.

The film is undoubtedly an unusual and unique cinematic experience that forces you to examine the way in which you experience a film and indeed your reactions to it. Films like Irreversible, Requiem for a Dream and Ma Soeur force us to consider the question of whether we can ever truly enjoy watching such harrowing films when they appear perhaps too realistic in their depiction of a brutal life. Some might argue that a film which conveys such disturbing images of extreme physical violence and rape must have something redeeming about it in order for the film to be constructed as a worthwhile cinematic experience.

Certainly when talking about such controversial films as Irreversible and Requiem for a Dream, it is impossible to say you liked them yet they remain powerful and thought provoking nonetheless. What can we say about it other than it is a film that captures the incapability of fate and consequence, underlying how we are all susceptible to time's destruction. A controversial film yes, but one that is sure to get people into a dialogue into the nature of cinema and entertainment.
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Stupid and Pretentious *minor spoilers*
rustysettler4 December 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Gaspar Noe's "I Stand Alone" was brilliant, but this film is stupid, disgusting, and pretentious. The story plays out in achronological order, like in "Memento", from graphic murder, through the unrelenting rape and beating that instigated it, to earlier happy times in an attempt to provide an explanation about predestination, but the result isn't real motivation, it's simply a pat attempt to justify the atrocities. The camera movement at the beginning is so disorienting that it's difficult to follow the action, though it grinds to a halt to vividly show both rape and murder. This is a film that revels in it's excess, but is too cowardly to admit that it's exploitation.
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1/10
this movie is awful.
clark_kent042029 July 2007
Warning: Spoilers
i have never been so disappointed by a movie in my life. it is wretched and pointless and tells a story we can all see on the news. the man who raped the woman is not the man who got his face bashed in. just horrible. and watching the film will give you an epileptic seizure. the worst movie ever made. memento was better for its reverse storytelling in the fact that there was an actual intriguing story and not simply "revenge gone wrong". the nude scenes of penises were ridiculous and perpetrating the gay myth. not all gay people go to dungeons and ask strangers to fist them. i think there is something seriously wrong with this director and anyone who put money on this film. what a horrible role for Monica belluci.
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1/10
Good/Bad isn't the issue, Dude
eyeache21 March 2009
Ever felt truly sea-sick? It's the only condition where you long for death, but which doesn't kill you. The only difference between that state and watching this film is that when you reach land and recover from the sea-sickness, you feel great. After finishing with this film, you feel even worse because it pollutes you permanently. You disgust yourself for having watched it. Actually, I watched it twice, in a desperate attempt to find out why it had been made. There was no answer. I managed to partially erase it from memory after a couple of years, and only now write these comments because a friend of mine said she wanted to see it. So I'm sending it off to her, and glad to be rid of it. No doubt there will be others who want to see it for the reason it's so horrible. Prepare to feel a sense of mental and emotional damage for the rest of your life. It's not bad, like Saving Private Ryan; it's not good, like Alfredo Garcia. It just is, and I wish it wasn't.
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4/10
Follows all of the cliches (spoilers)
euphrates7718 March 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Movies like this are all the same: show you a horrifically traumatic event, and let the viewer wallow in the depths of this tragedy. Worst of all, the filmmaker uses every trick in the book to toy with your emotions. Does it advance the story to make the woman pregnant? No. It only gives the viewer a heightened sense that the forthcoming event is going to be excruciating horrible. Does it advance the story to make the victim extremely beautiful and free spirited? Of course not. Yet Noe knows how that this, too, will affect the viewer. What about the couple in bed before the party foreshadowing their own fate? This trick is used to bring the viewer out of the bliss that they have been experiencing for the last 30 minutes or so and draw your attention back to the rape.

If I am supposed to learn anything from this movie, I don't know what it is. Watch it if you want to see something excruciatingly horrible, but not anything new or original.
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8/10
French Cinematic Masterpiece
farzamk17 February 2021
I was really scared before watching the movies based on the reviews it has but this really was a terrific rollercoaster the movie starts and everything is going so fast and the camera work is so insane that it just spins your head around and then the movie goes and build to the middle where the most disturbing scene comes and I was not ready and it really was a torture everything felt so real credit goes to the direction and after that the movies get slow and you think it's finished but it's just the start to get to know the characters and also a mind torture cuz we know what's going to happen to them and to sum up the movie time destroys everything.
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A GREAT MOVIE FOR THE KIDS!!!!!!!
PIST-OFF17 April 2003
Warning: Spoilers
There's so much I could say about this movie but I will attempt to keep this short. First off the popular argument is whether this constitutes pornography or not. Some argue that because of the rape scene and it's visual no holds barred intensity it does. The supreme court says that pornography is any medium that causes sexual thought and has no artistic merit. The problem with this definition is that what constitutes art or artistic merit is never defined. Since artistic merit cannot be judged on with an objective opinion, because no opinion is objective then the whole issue gets whitewashed. To say it is pornography is up to each individual viewer along witth the understanding that that does not dictate whether or not it actually constitutes pornography. There's also the unanswered question of who should it cause sexual thought to. I don't know about you but I'm not thinking about shampoo when I see those Hebal Essence commercials, which are advertising and theoretically have no artistic mer it.

Beyond all the hulaboo and philosophy I pose the question: Why is pornography always conotated as bad? What's so wrong with mediums of pointless sloppy sex with no regard to supposed high minded ideals?

Now with all that behind I'd like to move on to the movie. The first notably thing about the movie is the spinning camera that helps make this movie far more confrontational and challenging to the average movie goer than either the rape or the violence in the movie. I believe that the spinning is the reason for the numerous walk outs. I think if pulp fiction would have spun the camera as wildly there would have been just as many walkouts on that. I see the function of the spinning camera as the movies way of telling us that things just can spin out of control, and i'm sure that most audience would have gotten it quite early on and the technique could have been dropped. This movie does not want to let off the audience that easily.

The rape scene is another example of this. Going with this movie's very dark pessimistic view on human nature both in and out of the film this movie dares you with the hands down most graphically violent thing I've ever seen on film and the most unblinking nauseating rape scene ever. This movie practically dares you not just to look at the train wreck with an air of disconnected distance but to actually go right up and examine the bodies of the victims for yourself. While most people harbor the morbid capabilities to watch a car wreck from the safety of their car window or watch a war from the safety of their living room television, most would not prefer to be in the war or at the wreck as a coroner. This movie holds up that hypocracy and dumps all over you.

This movie very much reminds me of a movie that might have been shown to Alex during his "treatment" in A Clockwork Orange. With or without drugs this movie might have nauseated him. Save for rapist, misogynist, masochists, and the occasional pedophile I can think of no average human being who could find the rape scene in the least bit appetizing let alone sexually desirable.

The warmth of the late scenes would have been quite a touching movie in and of themselves had we not known the beginning. Compared to the romantic comedies and melodramas we are usually fed by Hollywood, these have a certain touching authenticity to them. In this movie overiding agenda of pessimism one valid point is overlooked. Time heals all wounds that time creates. I give it 10 out of 10
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