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Irreversible: 20 Day–Year Movie My


345 Days Left.

What’s next?: I’m staying out of the U.S. yet again for a South Korean film by the great Chan-Wook Park: Joint Security Area.

Worst Scene: The rape scene is not the worst of the movie, but it’s the hardest to sit through, which might qualify it as such in a lot of people’s books. The scene that doesn’t work? I’m going back and forth on how I feel about some of the more ironic moments of the film, but even they aren’t lingered on in any annoying sort of way.

Weirdest Scene: You’re weird, shut up!

Death Scene?: The fire extinguisher scene. It’s infamous for a reason.

Breast Scene?: Aside from the rape scene, Monica Belluci gets naked one more time for a gentler love making scene. There’s also cock-aplenty.

Best Scene: A scene that doesn’t seem like much at the time, but grew on me after the fact. The three main characters ride the train and talk about making love. It has a lot more to do with the overall theme of the film than you might think.

Are you sure you want this to be your written record of how you feel about this movie?: Like I said, this is a bunch of first impressions about the film. To be continued…

What’s the moral?: Good question.

What else?: There’s a lot else to say, actually. The cinematography and editing are pretty amazing, as is the sound design. Like I said, I was dizzy by the end of the film, and the fluidity of the camera mixed with the way the frame seemed to be effected by pounding techno music and other outside influences made the experience all the more mind bending and absorbing.

A word of caution: there are low frequency sounds embedded in the film during the first act that have been known to cause nausea and chronic chest pains amongst some people. Seriously. I don’t know if that knowledge will make it harder to not get sick while watching the film, but I figured I’d throw it out there to anyone who was still apprehensive about seeing this thing.

How come?: Because I’m worried about calling it a mini-masterpiece after a single viewing. Honestly, I’m not one to gush (listen to ShowShow’s discussion about my rating for The Dark Knight if you don’t believe me), but I think there’s something powerful going on in this movie, and I don’t know if I’m feeling that because the novelty of the structure has given me a cinematic sugar rush or if this is genuinely a great work of art. I do know that I felt dizzy after the film had ended—an effect that  Gaspar Noe surely intended—and it’s not often that a film can touch my nervous system in such a direct way. Again, I don’t know if that makes Irreversible a great film, only that at this point I’m intrigued enough to want to go back.

It’s odd, because on the surface it seems as though there isn’t much to decipher here. The horrors play out at the start of the film and then we roll all the way back to the beginning of the day when everything was quiet and wonderful. It’s a treatise on the destructive nature of vengeance to be sure, but there’s also talk of fate and dreams peppered throughout the film that suggest something different by the end. Depending on how you chose to look at things, the ending can be considered ironic and cruel or oddly hopeful. If I were sure which of the two were true, this would be a very different review, but I’m not, so it’s not.

That said, I can’t imagine that many people are going to “enjoy” this film. Much like Addio Zio Tom, the tortures inflicted on the characters are simply too much to handle at times, particularly the infamous 9 minute long rape scene. But it must be said, about that scene in particular, that the violence on display is exactly as ugly as it ought to be. There’s no slow motion, or suggestion that the victim has crossed into some realm where pleasure and pain become one like in Straw Dogs. We’re simply treated (wrong word) to the act, without any subjective filmmaking techniques added to make us feel any better or worse about what we’re seeing. Whether you find the scene to be valid is another question entirely, but to me there’s no question at all. The first act of violence in the film, which takes place in a gay nightclub called “Rectum,” can’t come from nowhere, otherwise it slips into the realm of gratuitous filth. Again, this is a film about the complete and utter destruction of three lives by way of random chaos (I think…). It’s cruel and it’s cold and perhaps ironic, if you feel that the universe presented here acknowledges the lives of these people and has singled them out specifically, but I feel as though it all works within its own context.

This movie is clearly loaded from every angle, which is yet again why I’ll have to plead temporary insanity in regard to everything I’ve just said until I’ve seen the film at least one more time.

Did you like it?: I need to see it again to be sure.

Why now?: Because this was one of those films that I felt like I had to see eventually. Too many people have spoken and written about it in the 7 years or so since it was first released, so it was only a matter of time before this happened.

Who did this to you?: This question has been apt a few times in the past, but never as much as it is now. Gaspar Noe wrote and directed. Monica Belluci, Vincent Cassell and Albert Dupontel star.

What’s a (insert name of film here)?:  An Irreversible? It’s a rape/revenge story told in reverse.


My head is still spinning a bit and I’m not sure if it’s fatigue or the movie I just watched. There’s good reason to assume that Gaspar Noe’s film is the culprit, but I can’t discount the sugary artificiality of my current state of waking consciousness. These eyes of mine should not be open right now, but there are five cans of Coke propping up the lids and now it hurts to close them. It also hurts to beat my heart.

Maybe the hospital will let me bring my laptop into the urgent care ward.

Onward go!



One Response

  1. rape/revenge story, eh? sounds like a nailgun massacre ripoff to me

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