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Director: Gaspar Noe; Stars: Monica Bellucci, Vincent Cassel; Release Date: August 05, 2003

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Irreversible Damage

  • May 28, 2009
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.
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December 19, 2010
Yes indeed, the crazy thing about this is that my girl showed it to me, usually it is the other way around.
November 06, 2009
Great review. I avoided this film for awhile because of all the press it got for being over the top and when I finally saw it, I didn't think it was anywhere as bad (the violence) as the hype suggested (not to say it's an easy film to watch). Please note: I saw this after seeing Martyrs which has to be one of the most gratuitously violent films I've ever seen. Noe's ability to manipulate the emotions of the viewer through his masterful reverse storytelling was what struck me the most about this film.
November 06, 2009
Hmm, now that's a difficult call. I suppose one has to have a strong stomach for either one. I also watched & reviewed Martyrs which is a good film but very disturbing. I was a bit unnerved after watching both. Irreversible wouldn't have been as violent if they'd toned down the face crushing scene or the rape scene of course. Aside from that, I do like his film-making style & the tapestry he weaves through his rverse storytelling. Overall, I grew to really like the film after a couple of viewings. After the initial shock value wears off, I can watch almost anything. Thnks for the compliments bro!
June 19, 2009
great review, Cenobite, this was brilliant, I know it's wasy to dismiss this film because of its violent nature but it was sad, and very disquieting. It had that emotional impact. South Korea did one similar to this--"Peppermint Candy"
June 19, 2009
Thanks! I can't really say whether or not I liked the film although I will say it really got underneath my skin. I'm talking way deep into my skin. In fact, so deep that I haven't watched it a second time since my initial purchase back in 2002 or 2003. Thanks Woo! I couldn't agree with you more.
June 01, 2009
Is it the human fascination with watching horrific crashes or violent scenes that has intrigued me to watch this film? Or is it your review? And yes, I think I'd see it to see how repulsive it is! Have you read @Scotman and @Count_Orlok_22's reviews of Memento?
June 02, 2009
Hey Sam, I believe you are correct. It's that morbid fascination we all sometimes have where we'd just rather take it all in as opppsed to avoiding the train derailment or other atrocities. I would definitely recommend a rental of this one though I'm not sure if you want to own it per se. Thanks for the comments! I will check out those other reviews too! Hugs!!
More Irreversible reviews
review by . February 15, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
***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 …
review by . May 18, 2008
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 …
review by . January 16, 2006
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 …
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Brian ()
Ranked #28
I've spent years trying to make others happy & not really focusing on what's most important in my own life. Having said that, my own health & security are paramount so now I'm more … more
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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...
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Director: Gaspar Noé
Genre: Drama
Release Date: 2003, January 1, 2002
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Screen Writer: Gaspar Noé
Runtime: 1hr 39min
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