← Back to Reviews
\

Irreversible




Gaspar Noe's Irrevervisble has gotten a lot of attention because of its unblinking brutality. Kong is not exaggerating when he says it is one of the most horrifying, realistic, and devasting depictions of violence that he has ever witnessed. Most theater goers will be put off, and Kong suggests that you think about wether you can handle watching some of the most vile actions commitable before you fork over the cash for your ticket.

"Irreversible" is a movie so violent and cruel that most people will find it unwatchable. - Roger Ebert (Positive review.)

[There are some spoilers here, but it is impossible to describe the movie without them. Even knowing these spoilers will not fully prepare you for what is in the film.]

Irreversible has garnered mixed reviews from critics, and Kong can understand how people would intensely dislike the film, but Kong felt that this was gripping, and powerful cinema albeit very hard to stomach and painful to watch. The film is done in 12 episodes, each episode is only one take, and the episodes are played in reverse chronological order (like Memento). The reverse order is not just a gimick though, it is an extremely intergral part of the theme. The story is of a couple, Alexandra and Marcus, and their friend, Alexandra's ex, Pierre. The three go to a party, and afterwards Alexandra is brutaly raped and beaten (the scene is an excruciating 9 minutes, and the camera sits unmoving during the vast majority of it), afterwards Marcus and Pierre go out to exact revenge. Since it's in reverse the revenge (the most gruesome murder Kong has ever seen filmed) comes first and happens within the first 15 minutes or so. The rape scene is about halfway through, and the rest of the film is about what the characters did earlier that same day.

It sounds repulsive, and watching it is far worse, but it's not done for pleasure. Most films gloss over these actions, and we become numb to seeing people murdered or beaten in films as a result, but you will not feel numb here. The violence is as realistic as it can get, and it's very disturbing. The realism is not only a reminder to us of how awful these actions are, but also an attack on films that use violence without putting in its ghastly context.

After the first 50 minutes or so the film's brutality has passed, and the rest of the film is a portrait of who these people were by showing us what they did prior to going to the party. It's nearly an hour of time to witness everything that will never be again, everything that was wrecked and destroyed by the irreversible actions of violence. Almost an hour to reflect on what is lost when mankind acts so evilly. It's a startling reminder of the things we try hard not to be reminded of.

Irreversible is, without a doubt, not for everyone. It is agonizing, but that is the point.

**** of ****
[But also a film Kong will probably never watch again.]