Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Imperial Swordsman
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
Year: 2002
Director: Gaspar Noé
Stars: Monica Bellucci, Vincent Cassel, Albert Dupontel, Jo Prestia, Philippe Nahon, Stéphane Drouot, Jean-Louis Costes, Mourad Khima
Genre: Drama, SexBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 5 votes)
Review: In a seedy hotel room, Jean Chevalier (the chef from Seul Contre Tous) explains to his companion that he ended up in jail for sleeping with his daughter, and goes on to declare "There are no crimes, only deeds". As a police siren wails in the street below, Gaspar Noé's Irreversible begins its savage backwards crawl from death at the 'end' to the promise of new life at the 'beginning'.

Pierre (Albert Dupontel) and Marcus (Vincent Cassel) are about to be arrested for murder as two people with horrendous facial injuries (one dead, one alive)are carried from two separate locations on stretchers. As the story regresses, we witness two of the most sickening, stomach-churning scenes we're ever likely to clap eyes on; the first is a revenge attack for a rape we have yet to see, while the second concerns the hideous sexual assault on Marcus' girlfriend Alex (Monica Bellucci). Here, Noe rubs our faces in the real blood-soaked streets of our cities: a world away from the almost glamourised nonsense that frequently masquerades as The Cinema Of Telling-It-How-It-Is. The last third of Irreversible has, curiously, attracted criticism, inferring that Noé's backwards narrative simply doesn't work, even allowing for the fact that this is the only way such a disturbing tale can have a 'happy ending'; doubtless a grim and certainly less-than playfull nod to other sub-standard cases on file. Perhaps those short-sighted detractors should steel themselves for a second viewing, where they may well discover that Noe really has progressed since his last feature film. In this final act, Noé skilfully depicts the calm before the storm, using characters' premonitions (Alex's subway dream, Marcus' 'dead' arm) to create a distance between two lovers and also to demonstrate how sometimes seemingly mundane decisions can deliver us into hell.

Of course, the main talking points have inevitably centered on those two highly controversial scenes. When Marcus and Pierre arrive at a gay S&M dive known as 'Club Rectum', a hyperactive camera follows their frenzied search for the man who raped Alex, only slowing down to unflinchingly record a very long minute where a man's face is literally destroyed by a fire extinguisher. Alex's lengthy rape ordeal is even worse as vicious pimp La Tenier buggers her, though it's interesting to note that at the screening I attended, audience reaction only became vocal when the sexual assault ended and La Tenier moved on to further acts of violence: broken mind vs broken body? So, has Noé gone too far with the violent content in this film? I'd have to say yes, but despite my misgivings over what I consider to be some almost unwatchable footage, I will defend his work against the hysterical press reaction, led by the usual suspects we all know and hate. Irreversible is often unbearable viewing, but this challenging slice of cinema should most certainly be seen by every adult: all those reports you can read and view in the media..... well, this is what really happens and it's way past time someone raised the bar and opened our eyes. Full credit to Noé for doing exactly that, while demonstrating a prowess for self-advancement from second-string shock-jock to a director of real substance.

Kiss goodbye to all the sanitised crap that's spruced up and censored. This is the real world, and by christ, it hurts! Wake up. Your alarm has some new batteries.

[Tartan Video have recently released a Collector's Edition of the movie. Featuring a worthwhile commentary by Gaspar Noé, Monica Bellucci and Vincent Cassel; Intoxication (a short film by Gaspar Noé; 'Le Rectum' special effects featurette; 'Stress' and 'Outrage' - two music videos by Daft Punk's Thomas Bangalter along with the usual teaser trailers.]
Reviewer: Steve Langton


This review has been viewed 15913 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Louise Hackett
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M


Last Updated: