Directed by Gaspar Noe. France. 2002.
The film chronicles the course of an evening where after a party, a woman is raped and subsequently her boyfriend and friend take revenge. Noe, however, is more concerned with the images inherent with this, rather than the actual chronology of events. The film is polarised with powerful scenes of hate and equally evocative scenes of love. Noe sets himself the impossible task of redeeming the earlier, ultra-violent images with genuinely tender and endearing visuals- this is a film with real cinematic purpose that is met with brave technique, something rarely witnessed on our screens today. Noe introduces the film with a chaotic camera that pumps with carnage, gradually resting the movement to a beautifully serene finale. It is perhaps a slightly contrived metaphor, although still one used with assured and meaningful purpose.
In striving to allow the
visuals complete liberation from the hindrance of narrative, Noe reverses
the events of the film so the end happens at the beginning and vice-versa.
This somewhat artificial freedom permits Noe to evoke his desired effect,
although it doesnít work as completely as the same technique did for Christopher
Nolan in Memento. Mementoís plot depended intimately on the
unusual structure of the film, where as Irreversibleís design is
to escape conventional plot altogether and invite the audience respond
to the film emotionally rather than with thought. As a result, for the
most part, we are left with deeply affecting filmmaking, but consequently
there is this residue of pretence that mars the film. Irreversible is essentially
a sequence of nine shots, which serve the unflinching brutality of the
film superbly. Aside from the bold reality that is born out of this, the
style must be met with capable performances and Vincent Cassell and Monica
Belucci demonstrate the command they have over
Whilst remaining uncomfortable
viewing at best, Irreversible is, if nothing else, a monstrous technical
achievement in cinema that screams with passion.
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