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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Difficult fare here!
A film about male rage? A savage critique of the penis? A warning about the consequences of revenge? Not in my opinion. It's a film about gratification, lust and depravity, among other things. By some standards (conventional standards if you like) Marcus, Pierre and Alex are very depraved - their drinking, public graphic discussion of sex, Marcus' desire to sodomise Alex,...
Published on 23 Sep 2010 by Val Miller

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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars graphic violence and lost innocence, over the top
THere are few films that actually make me sick to my stomach, and this is one of them. The violence is so graphic - there is one scene where you can count how many teeth a man loses as his head is slowly bashed in - that I simply had to fast forward it OFTEN. Really, it made me heave, near vomiting. Then, there is the horror at the center of the plot, the fate of a...
Published on 27 Aug 2011 by rob crawford


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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Difficult fare here!, 23 Sep 2010
A film about male rage? A savage critique of the penis? A warning about the consequences of revenge? Not in my opinion. It's a film about gratification, lust and depravity, among other things. By some standards (conventional standards if you like) Marcus, Pierre and Alex are very depraved - their drinking, public graphic discussion of sex, Marcus' desire to sodomise Alex, and his drug taking, to cite some examples. Tenia takes it to a whole new level though and really tests the boundaries! It represents (to me anyway) a society in a state of total moral decay, from the more acceptable end of the scale (the party for example), through prostitution, the S+M gay club, to outright brutal rape and torture. We are left to make our own sense of the events and the characters. Noé makes no comment or moral judgement. I thought it interesting that the film company created for the production is called '120'. As in the Marquis de Sade's '120 Days of Sodom'? Surely. Anyone who is familiar with the behaviour and literature of the 18th century French Libertines will see this angle of personal pleasure weighed against the suffering of others, albeit the concept is taken to an extreme here. After the rape scene Tenia lays back and says 'awesome', reinforcing that the experience was an ultimate pleasure for him. An archetypal sadist! Sadly, far worse things than this happen on a daily basis throughout the world. This is a sordid modern tale indeed. I've given it 4 stars (how can you give a movie like this a star rating?) because technically it's very well conceived and shot (as other reviewers have discussed very adequately), but I'm not sure I liked it, my initial reaction was revulsion and disgust (I guess that's good!) but that is changing all the time now as I reflect on this movie... There is an argument that it shows the dehumanising tendency of unbridled lust, desire, vengeance and violence but the film could certainly also can be seen as graphic voyeurism. Sade reinvented for the cinema era???
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars graphic violence and lost innocence, over the top, 27 Aug 2011
By 
rob crawford "Rob Crawford" (Balmette Talloires, France) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Irreversible [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
THere are few films that actually make me sick to my stomach, and this is one of them. The violence is so graphic - there is one scene where you can count how many teeth a man loses as his head is slowly bashed in - that I simply had to fast forward it OFTEN. Really, it made me heave, near vomiting. Then, there is the horror at the center of the plot, the fate of a beautiful and happy young woman. Now there was a time in my youth when I would have relished my "reaction," feeling that such a film made me "experience" a new reality, etc. All the artistic longings - often nonsense in retrospect - of the inexperienced. Well, I am afraid that life has made me no longer want to see such things. I have had friends who suffered similar things and there is nothing to learn from it and no value is bringing it to the screen in my opinion. However, it does make the film controversial - look at the range of reviews here!

Because of the odd way that the film is edited, I am not revealing the plot here. Indeed, with the camera waving around in an attempt at avant garde technique, it added to my nausea. Nonetheless, the acting is very very good. Moreover, there are philosophical points throughout the whole thing and they are not totally pretentious, but add to the portrayal of life and love in the film. The chemistry between the actors is totally believable, as is the changes in personality.

Am I a bourgeois philistine for saying that it was simply awful to watch? Perhaps, but maybe I have just outgrown this kind of art thing. I think you can get deep philosophy and thoughtfulness without such total horror.

Not recommended.
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31 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's not pretty, but it's superb, 28 May 2003
This review is from: Irreversible [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
When you compare this to the fuss kicked up by the BBFC for a full 31 years over Last House On the Left, it seems like a minor miracle that it was passed uncut for both the cinema and home viewing. Whilst by no means as over the top as it has been portrayed as being (the people storming out at the Cannes festival last year must have been especially sensitive), this film is obviously not for everyone. As is quite widely known, it contains a scene involving repeated interactions between a man’s head and a fire extinguisher, and also a rape scene probably only beaten in terms of explicitness by that in I Spit On Your Grave.
However, you should not be deterred by the film’s brutal reputation, as this film is one fantastic piece of cinema. Featuring superb performances from the three main protagonists Vincent Cassel, Albert Dupontel and Monica Bellucci (now best know as Persephone from The Matrix Reloaded, as different a film from this as is possible to get!) and dizzying camera work from Argentine director Gaspar Noé that makes NYPD Blue look like a stage play, you will certainly not forget this film in a hurry after seeing it. As long as you can understand French or don’t mind reading subtitles, and aren’t too easily shocked (the film’s reputation is perhaps a little harsh, but it still more than deserves it’s 18 certificate), this is a stylish, intelligent film that I’d heartily recommend.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Once is enough, 12 July 2011
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This review is from: Irreversible [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
I have owned this film for several years, but have only watched it once- that seems to be enough for now.

It's just such an assault on the senses, sickening, beautiful and horrible, that a repeat viewing never seems appealing. But this is as it should be, with the subject matter. Hollywood infantilises and casualises sex and violence, numbing us to the realities of these things in the guise of entertainment.

Noe has no truck with this use of cinema as sedative, always wanting to grab the viewer by the throat and show us something that reminds us we are alive. The violence here is convincingly horrible, and the infamous rape scene I found very difficult not to turn away from- and I've watched some fairly extreme films in my time.

If you've been curious enough to look this film up, you owe it to yourself to go ahead and see it. Perhaps just not as a first date movie, though...
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an end has a start, 16 Mar 2008
By 
This review is from: Irreversible [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
for a film that i almost walked out of i'm surprised to be giving it 5 stars. but there is a reason. because its superb. it starts off shocking, becomes even more shocking, before ultimately revealing the reasons why it ended up being so shocking, or rather, started off being so shocking. a truly thought-provoking film that subverts the art of film making.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect cinema, 7 Oct 2005
This review is from: Irreversible [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
Rape is shocking, and this is a film which reiterates this point (you could argue that this point doesn't need reiterating), or rather pummels the full horror of rape right into your soul. I just marvel at the skill of the director because i have never seen such an intense film in my life. It is right up there for the entire 90 minutes! It's an exhilirating experience to witness art of this quality, and the film totally hits the spot on many other levels - excellent music, exploration of friendship and loyalty, the most beautiful love scenes which add so much poignancy. I could go on, i loved it both times i saw it. Though i'm not sure i could stomach a third viewing!
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inadvertently stuck in mind........., 14 Mar 2011
This review is from: Irreversible [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
After reading a quite a few reviews for this film it seems that there are many that have missed the point completely. I actually saw this film yesterday and honestly I cannot seem to shake it from my mind.Yes its true there are 2 main scenes, that once witnessed will stay with you for a very long time. That being said the few scenes that you see after the the initial violence is just as important to the story as are the controversial ones.
Someone mentioned that the rape scene would be completely unwatchable for a woman which I thought a bit misguided being a woman myself. Yes it is a very difficult scene to sit through but I think any decent,good human being would would feel the same thing regardless of gender. I will say though there is no actual way to prepare for this scene as I tried to do. I remember reading how 'Irreversible' had the worst scene of rape ever depicted on screen and automatically did not believe it as the same had been said for the scene in 'A ClockWork Orange' and also the original 'The last house on the left'. I personally thought that those 'scenes' were very poorly acted and so never actually felt anything for the character or what they were going through and in turn found the scenes completely laughable. This doesn't happen in this film. It completely lives up to the hype surrounding it. You will definitely have an idea of what to expect before the film begins but these ideals will be completely blown away within 20 minutes of watching.

Top marks must go to all actors involved especially Cassel, Bellucci and the guy that plays the part of the 'baddie' La Tenia. He plays his part so well that I don't think that I have ever greeted a character with such disdain and revulsion.
So to sum up if you appreciated all types of films, from the ones that make you laugh out loud, cry or absolutely terrorize the hell out of you, like I do and are always up for trying out something new then watch this movie and then watch it again to truly appreciate it. Then come on here and let us nosey parkers (me) know what you think!
Enjoy:0)
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31 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Time Destroys All Things....., 18 Dec 2006
By 
R. Mullaney (Leeds, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Irreversible [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
Irreversible is probably the most explicit and upsetting film I have ever seen. I bought it on DVD but can't bring myself to watch it again. That said, I can remember every single scene because love it or hate it, you certainly won't forget it. It is an uncompromising masterpiece but because it contains such horrific sexual violence, many will see it as gratuitous pornography.

The film is told in reverse, much like 'Memento', starting with the climax and tracking backwards to the beginning. It begins with two men being arrested for battering a man to death in a nasty looking gay club 'The Rectum'. As the story unfolds (backwards) we learn that the dead man subjected a woman (Belluci) to quite possibly the worst sexual assault ever committed to film (the scene lasts almost 15 minutes) and her boyfriend and ex-boyfriend hunted him down to take revenge. After witnessing the extreme violence in the first half of the film we then see the three friends getting ready to attend a party on the night of the assault and how her boorish boyfriend (Cassell) allows her to leave alone at night so he can stay and flirt with other women. It then goes on to show the couple at home, blissfully happy, unaware that their lives are about to be torn apart in such an unimaginable way.

Irreversible is difficult to watch. The subway scene (among others) is so intense it is impossible to view this film as entertainment but I would still recommend watching it anyway because it is far more important than the majority of Hollywood films. It is a breathtaking experience that you will never forget.

Like This? Try: Memento
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very uncomfortable., 8 Jun 2007
By 
Jay "Lar" (Manchester U.K.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Irreversible [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
I watched this film 3 weeks ago, and I'm still thinking about it. It is very uncomfortable to watch like the previous reviews on here state. The camera angles, lighting, sound, dialogue, the storey line and the credits are all are designed to make you feel uncomfortable. I couldn't watch it in one sitting, as there's just too much horribleness. I needed to watch something light and funny just to reach an equilibrium in my mind, before watching more.

To say it's 'Coward's Porn that lacks balls' is so wrong. If a someone can crack one off to this film, then they should go and place themselves on a register.

The rape scene is utterly horrid, but to shoot it in any other way would be wrong.

I think the film suits being in reverse chronology as I would have forgotten the start of the story due to the impact of the middle and ending.

I cant give it 5 stars as it really made me feel sick with the spinning cameras.
added 05/07/07- Amazon 13.95! HMV fiver!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A film never to be forgotten., 5 Jun 2003
By 
I. E. Cooper "supercoops" (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Irreversible [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
You can watch a film surrounded by controversy and still wonder what all the fuss was about when it ends. Irreversible, however, is one film that it can truly be said lives up to its reputation. A bad thing?? Certainly not, but you won't enjoy it, how can you when it contains two of (in my opinion) the most distressing and disturbing scenes ever committed to celluloid? No exaggeration.
In the riskiest roles of their careers, Cassel & Belluci give powerhouse performances, as a couple thrust into a nightmare over one evening. Told backwards, the viewer is hurled into the nightmare just as quickly as its characters, as we witness Belluci's rapist being beaten in the face with a fire extinguisher until he is dead. The sheer realism of this scene is remarkable and repulsive and will more than likely deter you from wanting to continue further with the film. As a hardened viewer of some of the most intense films out there, i expected to be able to pass this by, but soon realised i was unprepared for what i was witnessing. I felt sickened, i felt the urge to stop watching, yet i was compelled to continue.
Nothing can prepare you for the (now) infamous rape scene which follows, & 5 minutes into the nine minute scene i had turned off the film, upset and unwilling to watch any further until i was better prepared. I wasn't disgusted, and its not exploitative, it just has a realism that you don't expect and aren't prepared for in the comfort of your home & everyday life. Ordinary people in an extraordinary & violent world that will always be there everytime we step outside our door. The film had set out to make a point, and had done it and then some.
You can't ignore this film, its far too important for that.
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