Directed by Gaspar Noé.
Written by Gaspar Noé.
Starring Monica Bellucci, Vincent Cassel and Albert Dupontel.
Release Year: 2002
Review Date: 3/18/03
Don’t take what I am about to tell you
Out of all of the movies I have ever seen,
EVER SEEN, I am absolutely positive that NONE of them have two
scenes as powerful, as shocking, as visually arresting as two scenes
that appear in the French import “Irreversible.” In fact, I am sure
that both of them will not be topped this year by anything that I am
going to see. Easy. How shocking are we talking about here?
During one of the scenes, six people out of the 30 or so present
left the theater immediately. Two more left during the second one.
How shocking are we talking about here? (NOTE: SPOILER TO
FOLLOW.) There is an assault scene here so graphic that I can
still, two days later, see it all replaying in my mind, and I still
can’t believe that it was shot in one take.
This film, a production written and directed
by Gaspar Noe, is such a ride, such a rocket, that it forces you to
have a reaction to it. Presented in reverse (not unlike
without the twists), the film starts off with two men named Pierre
(Albert Dupontel) and Marcus (Vincent Cassel) that are being
arrested and sent to the hospital, respectively. We spend the movie
figuring out why they are heading in those separate directions, and
the dizzying array of events that follow--or, in time order,
precede--those initial events is some of the most stunning footage I
have ever witnessed. The tension is further pushed by Noe’s
decision to use handheld cameras throughout the voyage, so you will
have a good case of seasickness before all is said and done. For
better AND for worse, Monica Bellucci shows up halfway through the
film as Alex, a woman that has connections to both men. (To see
what I mean by better and worse, you need to only see her first
The cool part about “Irreversible” is that
it is essentially ten master shots of about ten minutes apiece, so
you don’t get too caught up in a bunch of MTV-style rapid cutting
from scene to scene; this lets the actors really fill up the time as
they go about their business and as you learn more and more about
what got them into their precarious position to start the film. The
bad, very bad part about this is that a handful of scenes don’t let
up on the jugular since they are played out in their entirety. Some
helpful advice for these scenes, and for that matter, seeing this
film: a) Don’t see this film if you are even slightly squeamish.
b) Don’t you DARE take a date to see this film. c) Don’t even think
about seeing this one with family. d) If you have been unfortunate
enough to experience any kind of sexual assault--male or
female--firsthand, or secondhand, or even thirdhand (seriously),
don’t go see this film. If you have heard anything about this film,
it is likely that you have heard about the horrific sequence in the
middle of the film, and I am here to confirm for you that the scene
in question really is that rough.
“Irreversible” is truly an astonishing piece
of filmmaking; I can’t give it my highest recommendation because I
can’t tell you in good faith to run out and see this movie right
away; it might be best for video because that way, you can turn it
off and take it back to the video store if the material on the disc
disturbs you...and, for many people, it will. But, “Irreversible”
is the kind of entertainment that makes you think, leaves an
impression and provokes further conversation. If you’ve got a high
tolerance check it out while it is in theaters.
Rating: $9.50 Show
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard