“Irreversible” Review ✦✦✦✦✦

20 February, 2017

Year of Release: 2002
Gaspar Noé
 Gaspar Noé
Directors of Photography: 
Gaspar Noé, Benoît Debie
Monica Bellucci, Vincent Cassel

Synopsis: A reverse-chronological movie set in Paris over a 24-hour time frame, Irréversible depicts the murderous aftermath of a brutal sexual assault, beginning with extreme violence and ending with naïve bliss.

Irreversible Review:

A film of stark nihilistic virtue constructed to resemble a truth about the most basic of human fears, “Irréversible” is a love letter to chaos, deconstructing primal instincts and making reactionary violence interchangeable with malice during a night of total confusion. Set in an alternate reality where effect precedes cause, Gaspar Noé’s most infamous art piece houses a severe message about the volatility of the world we live in, creating an atmosphere that darkly compliments the bitter truth behind unforeseeable events and unalterable actions.

With scenes that practically slap you in the windpipe, the movie is arresting on a visual level, relying on nausea to carry its moments of violence and violation as Noé uses stomach-turning camerawork and sounds to stun viewers in submission. Morality simply doesn’t exist in “Irréversible” and this renders the film entirely observational in its depiction of social interaction, sexual deviancy, and the escalation of violence. In many ways the morality lies with the viewer as Noé holds a mirror to his audience, assessing when his fans squirm and heightening their self-awareness in times of unavoidable crisis, creating a level of understanding that few would be able to comprehend if the story were told in chronological order.

Although seemingly unbearable on the surface, “Irréversible” is a challenge designed to make you reassess the parts of life that are so often taken for granted. The idle chitchat, the fun and games, the comfortable weekend lie-in – none of these moments should be taken lightly and Noé ensures that his movie provides as much of a newfound appreciation for everything good and wholesome as it does a bitter assessment of the malevolence that we so often turn away from. Walk out and you will be left sickened by the movie’s voyeurism and lack of decency but stay until the final sequence and you will discover the crucial and rather painful link between beauty and ugliness.


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