Sunday, December 12, 2010

Irréversible


Irréversible; Thriller-drama, France, 2002; D: Gaspar Noé, S: Monica Bellucci, Vincent Cassel, Albert Dupontel, Jo Prestia

Marcus lands in the hospital, his friend Pierre is arrested and a man mistaken to be Le Tenia is dead, his face squashed by an fire extinguisher. Earlier, in a night bar called 'Rectum', Marcus mistakes a man for Le Tenia and had a fight with him. Earlier, underworld criminal Le Tenia intercepted Marcus' girlfriend Alex in an underpass at night, brutally raped and beat her, until she landed in a hospital. Earlier, Marcus, Alex and Pierre were celebrating in a disco, but Alex left alone after an argument. Even earlier, Alex found out she is pregnant with Marcus.

After the shocking, but very stylish drama "I Stand Alone", director Gaspar Noe continued his "shock cinema" streak with not less tamer thriller-drama "Irreversible". The film stayed remembered for two things: for a story assembled out of 13 chapters presented in reverse chronological order, first showing the end and then the beginning, just like "Memento"; and for the nauseous rape scene of Monica Bellucci's character. Noe has a talent for masterfully directing ordinary moments (every chapter is shot in one roughly 10 minute long take) but frequently it seems he just wants to shock the audience without a deeper meaning, i.e. only to draw publicity for his films, which is why "Irreversible" doesn't seem completely satisfying. Likewise, his pessimism is sometimes too pretentious and aggressive. However, the exposition is genius - already in the first scene, the closing credits start rolling (!), backwards (!), until the camera starts tilting extremely, following the monologue of the Butcher, the protagonist from Noe's previous film "I Stand Alone". The whole film is extremely negatively erotic and depressive, yet intriguing for almost every minute, mostly due to the excellent actors Cassel and Bellucci, though it doesn't offer anything more.

Grade:++

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