Perhaps one of the most shocking films I've seen in years, I'm having a difficult time placing a star rating on this review but let me give you some facts if nothing else.
Monica Belluci is one of the most beautiful actresses in the business & I hated watching her gruesome rape scene (even though this isn't the most graphic scene in the film.) This montage alone was perhaps one of the most scary rape scenes since Baise Moi or I Spit On Your Grave. Having said this, I can respect the artistry of the film & the terrific performances but I couldn't bring myself to watch it very often.
Gaspar Noe has a style here similar to Nolan's Memento (Although a little less confusing I believe) which is cool but certain scenes here tend to drag including the senseless acts of hatred & violence.
Irreversible opens up with a naked old man sitting on a bed telling us how time manages to literally destroy everything & we should already be forewarned that nothing good could possibly happen throughout the course of 90 odd minutes. He then tells a younger gentleman how his young daughter was taken away from him after he sexually molested her.
In the next montage, we see two young men searching all over an S&M gay club to find some man & we have no understanding as to the urgency of finding this mysterious character. I should make an interesting point that watching a man's arm broken by another man & then seeing a man's face literally being crushed is a bit excessive for an artsy film such as this and more than likely disturb many uninitiated viewers. As I mentioned earlier, the rape scene isn't the only harrowing or intense scene in Irreversible.
Needless to say, you learn more information about each character or event with each montage.In essence, each montage shows us more vivid detail as to what has transpired in the past & what will lead up to the violent chain of events which are shown in the second scene. Once you have grasped the pattern or the method behind the madness, Irreversible loses a bit of it's acquired flavor & much of the hard-earned shock value. Nevertheless, you will still be irrevocably drawn to watch every last second and probably won't have the gall to fast forward through any bits.
There isn't really a whole lot I can gather from this film except that terrible things we do to one another are often permanent & humans by nature are barbaric in ways we can't possibly imagine.
Definitely not a feel good film by any means & most viewers will perhaps be subject to much nausea after watching it but I still tend to believe Irreversible will have a grand cult following for some strange reason. I give it 4 stars out of a possible 5 for great acting, nausea inducing camera-work, & a decent film-making style. The dialog is an honorable mention but most people will probably only view this film for the obvious reasons. Viewers want to see if this film is as shocking & truly repulsive as so many have stated before me.
If you loved Memento or Baise Moi, probability suggests you will want to see this one too.
***1/2 out of **** Some of the best films tempt you to look away. French director Gaspar Noe has made a film which does indeed want you to look away, but only if you want to. It isn't forcing you to not watch; and then again it's not forcing you into sticking around. But if you can stick around, "Irreversible" is one of the most disturbing though-provoking films you may ever see; graphic in its depictions of violence and rape, but powerful in its ability to provoke. I do … more
This movie is a very unusual and dark revenge story. It goes backwards. If you liked Memento, you'll like the use of reverse chronology in this movie. Much like Memento, the reverse order of events is used to convey a message. The movie is a wild ride where I was constantly trying to catch up and at the end felt that they tied it all up well. If you watch it a couple times, you'll notice subtle hints and plot elements happening in the corners of the screen. The … more
Pros: Well scripted, well acted. Cons: Portions of the film are very dark. The Bottom Line: In the end I am glad I finally watched Irreversible because the story was well scripted, and the movie well acted. Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. Irreversible first came to my attention while reading the review for another movie. Now I have long been a fan of the beautiful, talented, and under-rated … more
After what would normally be the end credits (which run backwards), IRREVERSIBLE begins with a heated hunt through a gay S&M club. It is a chaotic sequence shot from a wildly spiraling camera seamlessly edited together to appear as one single shot and culminating in one of the most violent murders ever portrayed on celluloid. Following this crescendo, Gaspar Noe's (I STAND ALONE) film uses a reverse narrative structure similar to MEMENTO through which the audience learns the motivations for the murder and the relationships of three parties directly involved, the beautiful Alex (Monica Bellucci) and two men who adore her (Vincent Cassel and Albert Dupontel). The frenzied style of the opening gives way to increasingly static camera work throughout leading to an idyllic final shot of Alex, who the audience has long known is a doomed woman, set to Beethoven and alive with color and youthful innocence otherwise absent from this bleak urban nightmare. The film disregards conventional editing by ending each sce...