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Irreversible (2002)

Cast: Monica Bellucci, Monica Bellucci, Vincent Cassel, more...
Director: Gaspar No, Gaspar No
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Lions Gate
Genre: Drama, Foreign, France, Crime, Quest, Revenge
Running Time: 97 min.
Languages: French
Subtitles: English, Spanish
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Gaspar No's Irreversible utilizes the same storytelling technique used by Christopher Nolan in Memento and Harold Pinter in Betrayal. Consisting of about a dozen scenes, all shot in single takes, Irreversible charts a disturbing night in the life of Marcus (Vincent Cassel), but presents the events in reverse chronological order. The audience eventually learns how the beautiful Alex (Cassel's real-life partner Monica Bellucci) is involved. The film opens with a violent altercation at a gay sex club and works backward to explain how and why the violence occurred. The actors improvised the vast majority of the dialogue starting from a four-page story outline. Irreversible was screened in competition at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival. ~ Perry Seibert, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Did me in by Texan99 September 4, 2010 - 4:24 PM PDT
1 out of 2 members found this review helpful
A powerful treatment of premonition making devastating use of a backwards time sequence. The director develops themes of sexual violence, perversion, jealousy, rage, and revenge along with cherishing loyalty in such a way that the horror occurs up front while the ending is unbearably sweet and pastoral, though doomed. Monica Belucci is stupendous.

Great movie by LCortez August 23, 2006 - 11:53 AM PDT
2 out of 4 members found this review helpful
I don't believe that, in any sort of sense, directors TRY to change our lives. Movies don't have "shock value" nor are they intended to change the way we think, act, speak or live our lives.

And yet, sometimes, they just do.

Movies like this one, IREVERSIBLE fall along the lines of simply GREAT cinematography. The story flows and every scene "yes even the flashing lights" have a purpose. There really is no unneccesary characters, no unneeded dialouge and no pointless scenes. Everything makes sense and makes you FEEL something whether it's utter digust, or complete pleasure; and THATS what makes a movie. That's what makes THIS movie.

Rape, murder, gay sex clubs...should we care? MAybe not. I'm sure a lot of people who watch this can't relate to any of that. But how about anger, love, lust, vengance? EVERYONE can relate to those feelings. And that's all this movie is about. An extreame point of view of actions caused by emotions.

A beautiful movie that probably won't change you're life but WILL leave you feeling something.

An unsuccessful effort by SBarnett August 15, 2006 - 2:27 PM PDT
5 out of 6 members found this review helpful
In "Irreversible," Gaspar Noe wants to shock us with a murder and a rape, and then, through cinematography and reverse storytelling, give us a life-changing experience in which our bourgeois assumptions are destroyed as we see the true nature of human existence.

The story is told in segments that precede each other in the chronology, a movement that is essential to the "irreversible" worldview of the film. The camera gives us a bumblebee's point of view, buzzing wildly around, especially between segments, when it must go up to the ceiling or through a door or window to travel back in time. We are also treated to 25 seconds of a blinking white strobe filling the screen at the very end (the first time, and hopefully the last, I have ever covered my eyes in a film).

The murder and rape are shocking and brutal enough, but no more so than can be seen in many other films. Also intended to shock us are the reeling glimpses of sex in a gay men's club called "Rectum" (why should we react any differently to this name than to a straight men's club called "Vagina"?); yet again, these are less shocking than those in other films. The shock value of this film, on a purely horror level, is only moderate. The real shock in the film is supposed to come from its worldview.

Whether you like the film or not depends on what you think of that worldview: Time destroys all, our fate is preordained and inescapable; therefore, our choices and deeds, whatever we intend, lead irreversibly to our destruction. Bourgeois notions such as choice, authenticity, and responsibility are human illusions. Time and Fate become devouring deities, standing beyond reality, feasting on humans trapped in an inescapable web.

Why should we care about these insects? Should we be shocked when a caterpillar is parasitized by a wasp? Should we be disturbed when a cog is crushed in an infinitely vast machine? Should you accompany your scantily clad girlfriend home in a dangerous urban neighborhood after dark? If her fate is irreversible, what difference does it make? Why not stay at the party and get drunk? If human existence is predetermined by the deities Time and Fate, what recourse is left but prayer and divination? By reducing humanity to a collection of blind insects, Noe relieves us of our one defense against the Robber Barons and the Armies of God--our individual and collective sense of human responsibility.

The best scene in the film is when Alex (Monica Bellucci, whose acting skills are wasted) takes a pregnancy test. Her emotions are so believable, so human, so authentic--she is not an insect at all, and for an instant, neither are we.

If the scenes in this film were presented chronologically, the result would be an unremarkable and familiar crime drama of little interest. Noe resorts to gimmicks and posturing to try to spice this up and sell us a worldview that is impossible to accept. The gimmicks--and the worldview--fall apart, leaving only an empty shell.

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GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.48)
356 Votes
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Cannes Film Festival & More - 2002
Official Selection, Certain Regards... and more. Here is a bit more information on the films screened at the Cannes. I have attempted to list all the films that were considered for an award as well as any special screenings.
New French Extremity
Predominately films that would be classified as 'horror' with a few notable exceptions. Many films get lumped into this catagory because the director has made films considered "transgressive".

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