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IRREVERSIBLE

When a woman is savagely raped, her boyfriend and his buddy seek bloody revenge in a gay sex club.

CAST: Monica Bellucci, Vincent Cassel, Albert Dupontel, Jo Prestia, Philippe Nahon

DIRECTOR: Gaspar Noe

 

"… one of the most vicious beatings ever shown in a movie and one of the most gruesomely detailed rapes take place …The story unfolds in reverse, ending with a tender intimacy between Marcus (Vincent Cassel) and Alex (Monica Bellucci) and starting with a furious Marcus and his friend Pierre (Albert Dupontel) stalking through a gay club--it's called the Rectum--looking for the man who raped Alex…The frenzied momentum churns up a lot of adrenaline and stomach acid…But the performances certainly don't stir up much emotion. Except for the sodden Mr. Dupontel--whose shadings of remorse bring the only real feeling to the film's morbid intensity--no one else creates a character. And it's why ‘Irréversible’ is ultimately forgettable." --Elvis Mitchell, The New York Times

"Gaspar Noe's ‘Irreversible’ may be the year's most relentless and hard-to-watch film. It's not just the brutal and graphic rape that serves as the film's centerpiece, or the sequence in which a man's skull is crushed by repeated blows with a fire extinguisher--though those are the main reasons this controversial and provocative French film will revolt and disgust. It's also the manner in which they are shot…the camera swirls and darts, to the point that it induces motion sickness, as the howling mad Marcus (Vincent Cassel) searches a fetid gay sex club for the man who raped and nearly killed Alex (Monica Bellucci), his girlfriend. But, by the time Noe gets back to the rape itself, the camera is practically immobile, sitting unblinkingly in one spot for 10 minutes straight during the all-but-unwatchable attack in an underground tunnel and the beating that follows. It's hard to deny the power or the cinematic command of ‘Irreversible,’ but it's also difficult to see the point." --Marshall Fine, The Journal News

"Disturbing, uncompromising and destined to be one of the most controversial films of the year, Gaspar Noé’s ‘Irreversible’ is also powerful and profound…this is electroshock therapy for the soul. It is not a film for chuckleheads. With a graphic, 10-minute rape scene unlike anything I have ever witnessed on a motion-picture screen, it’s also not a film for the squeamish or faint-hearted…The ideas are thrilling. The mood shifts in the camera work are exciting. The acting is incomparable… if you absorb this extraordinary film from start to finish, you will be rewarded by the knowledge that you have experienced one of the most electrifying, daunting and original motion pictures in years." --Rex Reed, The New York Observer

"Don't be fooled by the pretense that the obnoxious ‘Irreversible’ is a work of art. Running a story backwards doesn't make it artistic. Backwards or forwards, this is offensive, pretentious garbage …You watch a man having his head bashed and bashed, and worse, there is a revolting, nauseating 10-minute explicit scene in which a woman is raped in the anus with the rapist shouting humiliating obscenities at her while she is screaming in pain and horror. And if that isn't enough, the attacker then beats and kicks her into a pulp…the filming is awful, with the camera so jerky and the screen so dark at the start that one can hardly discern what's happening. That alone is enough to give one a headache." --William Wolf, Wolf Entertainment Guide

"… an amazing and profoundly disturbing experience, not just because it depicts a landscape of sick and lurid and evil things, but because it has the audacity--and demonic skill--to make you feel as if those things were happening, live, right in front of your eyes. Early on, the camera whips around in a disorienting frenzy, descending into the lavalike inferno of a gay sex club, where the somber orgiastic assault climaxes with a head-bashing murder that may be the most gruesomely terrifying event I've ever witnessed in a movie. What creeps under your skin is the ghastly suggestion that we're watching the ultimate act of sadomasochism--i.e., that the murder victim enjoyed it. Noé is like Kubrick crossed with de Sade in the age of underground vérité porn; he wants to scare the living hell out of us." --Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

"Unlike the indie hit ‘Memento,’ which employed a similar flashback structure, ‘Irréversible’ is not predicated on suspense. Nor does it have the internal, amnesiac logic that gave ‘Memento’ its particular brain-twisting integrity…Noé's stunt is an exploitation movie with a gimmick, not to mention a vacuous philosophy: ‘Time destroys everything,’ Nahon informs us. Bien sûr. And if you need proof, spend 90 minutes with ‘Irréversible.’ You won't get them back. --J. Hoberman, The Village Voice

"…an art-house rape-and-revenge flick that unfolds in reverse like a demonic version of ‘Memento’… Noé is a punk provocateur who loves rubbing your nose in dung. Here he serves up gratuitously explicit footage of a fire extinguisher smashing a man’s head like a melon, followed by an already infamous anal-rape scene that runs nearly 10 minutes…The opening 50 minutes are brutal, but if you can take the punishment, you’ll probably be wowed by Noé’s skills as a filmmaker… The movie’s real problem lies in its flaccid intellectual underpinnings. Insofar as Noé has any ideas (and, being French, he feels that he must), they’re a cassoulet of male clichés that border on the idiotic…Despite the harrowing violence, I found myself chuckling at just how banal Noé’s idea of evil can be." --John Powers, LA Weekly