Sunday, December 7, 2008


Disturbing and at times repulsive, Irreversible is the story of a man seeking revenge after his girlfriend is raped and beaten. The film is in reverse chronological order, opening with the credits scrolling upwards, eventually tilting to the side, preparing the viewer for what's to come. The movie begins in an underground gay nightclub called The Rectum with two men, Marcus (Vincent Cassel) and Pierre (Albert Dupontel), looking for a pimp. When they find him, a scene of extreme graphic violence is unleashed, with a metal fire extinguisher smashing a skull. There is no way an American film could get away with this, without incurring an NC17 rating.

As the film continues in reverse, we learn the motive behind the assault. Alex (Monica Belluci), girlfriend of Marcus and former lover of Pierre, is brutally raped and then nearly beaten to death. If the viewer can survive the first fifty minutes, the rest of the film is much lighter with a complete change in tone and style. We see the couple at a party, later on a subway to that party, then the couple naked and frolicking in bed.

The reverse storytelling is much more than a gimmick. Instead of cheering for revenge, the viewer is shocked by the gruesome beating, horrified by the rape and left despondent by the hopeful final scene. Irreversible leaves you feeling as if you were dragged through hell and into heaven, a terrifying trip you'll never forget.

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