"Irreversible" takes reality and punches
us full force in the gut with it. Needless to say, it will likely upset
most audience members. The film actually created quite a stir at this
year’s Cannes Film Festival with folks walking out of the screening
early and one broad having to be treated for nausea by paramedics. So what
did yours truly think? Well, this was a rough way to start my Monday!
Now yes, the film has an extremely
vicious 9-minute rape scene that eventually transcends into a hard beating
(I felt every blow…ouch). Yes, we’re taken into a lewd gay S&M club
(appropriately named “Rectum”) where hand-jobs, fisting (what????) and
blow jobs are all over the place. NOTE
Stay away from gay S&M clubs. And yes, the film showcases moments of
unadulterated violence that even made my hardened “Texas Chainsaw
Massacre” bred soul wince in disgust. But I’m sorry to be the bearer
of bad news here; all those dark elements EXIST
IN OUR SOCIETY! The director didn’t magically pull them out of his
ass; they happen all the time, all over the world!
In my book of the dead, movies should
not only have the task of entertaining our silly asses, but some of them
should also reflect what’s taking place on our good old planet earth.
"Irreversible" does just that. I personally don’t understand why the
director and the film are being castrated for their honest approach. I mean,
it’s not like the flick glamorizes the bleak and brutal happenings. It
does the total opposite by showing us their unrestrained reality.
There’s no sugar coating here yall! Rape is unfortunately very common
and it happens on a regular basis around the globe. Even though most of us
don’t see it, it’s still happening! This
movie reminded me of what goes down behind my ignorant
back and I think that’s a good thing. There’s more to life than our
own self contained little existences. Having said that…MAN, IS THE WORLD
FUCKED UP OR WHAT?
Narrative-wise, the film follows in “Memento’s” footsteps and plays everything backwards. Taking that
route definitely gave the film an extra dimension, elevating the simple
script to a higher level. It drove the theme of life’s fragile and
unpredictable nature home. Leaving the theatre, thoughts like these raced
through my mind: We might not see the
nightmare coming around the corner. An everyday, happy couple CAN
be destroyed by our violent society. A pragmatic and peaceful man CAN
be turned into a primal, aggressive animal by a tragic event. We never
think it will happen to us, until it does! Having the flick play in
reverse reinforced those aspects and made my noggin work overtime. Sure, I
would’ve had an easier time delving into the characters and the
situation from the get-go if the action would’ve been played out in
chronological order, but then the picture’s artistic and more
existential edge would’ve been lost. So good move, Mr. Director! I also particularly dug the
attention the film put on classic and sad human behavioral patterns.
Notice how Marcus didn’t care that somebody got raped until he found out
that it was his girl. Notice how that dude walking in the tunnel turned back
the other way once he saw the rape taking place. I dug those little
On a character level, the players here
are mostly defined by the situations and that gave the flick a “What
if this happened to me? What would I do?” type of vibe. Huge props
go out to the bang-on cast who obviously improvised a lot of the dialogue.
Having actors of Vincent Cassel and Monica Belluci’s caliber in the
film made the characters so much more appealing and endearing. I
particularly enjoyed the subway “orgasm” conversation. Although I
still don’t get how an ex-boyfriend can talk about having sex with his
ex-gal in front of her new boyfriend...I still smiled at the bantering.
Isn’t that out of line though? If
some ex-boyfriend would talk about the “hey days” of dicking my girl
in front of me, I’d kick his ass! But that’s just me. Ahhh the French,
so much more sexually liberated than we are.
I do have some pet peeves with the film
though. The smaller one would be how the film dragged its ending out a bit too much.
I understood why the movie went so far back and actually relished many of
its more “softer” scenes, but I felt it should’ve ended a tad earlier
to retain the momentum of what took place. But my main beef has to do with
some of the directing choices. Since the story begins with the gruesome
ending, to go back to the happier beginning, the opening shots are all
over the place, with the camera traveling off walls and never seemingly finding a point of focus. I understood what the director was trying to
was basically echoing the chaos of the situation and the characters
jumbled state of mind through his visuals, but I got very frustrated due to the zany camera shots. I wanted to get involved in the story
so bad, but the epileptic cam would never stop shaking long enough to let
me in. I even started to feel woozy at some points. In my opinion, the man
overdoes it and managed to alienate me on some occasions. Is that how you
should start a movie? By keeping your audience out? Not in my school of
filmmaking! Easy on the “speed” there buddy! It’s not good for you!
But overall, there’s no
denying Irreversible’s power and artistic worth. It’s a unique,
shocking and unapologetic journey into life’s more disturbing corners.
Even the light and charming scenes that took place near the end wound up
being negated since they really happened at the beginning of the story
before they were ruined by the sheer brutality of human behavior! NOW
THAT’S FREAKING DARK! If you’re ready for a sour slice of life, dig in
but be warned…it’s going to hurt!