Irreversible [DVD] 
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Vincent Cassell and Monica Bellucci star in this French crime drama written and directed by Gaspar Noé. When Marcus (Cassell) and his girlfriend Alex (Bellucci) decide to go to a party with their friend Pierre (Albert Dupontel), they are totally unaware that their world is about to be torn apart in the most unimaginably brutal way possible.
Irreversible begins with the closing credits running backwards before the film begins (or ends) with Marcus (Vincent Cassell) and Pierre (Albert Dupontel) being escorted out of a gay s/m club by the cops, Marcus with his arm broken and Pierre in handcuffs. The "story" proceeds to unwind in a series of single-take scenes that unfold Memento-style, with each scene giving more context to what we have seen previously.
Each scenario depicts actions, dialogue, incident, behaviour and circumstance that the lead characters might have wished didn't happen, ranging from extreme violence through awkward social situations to mild embarrassment. The central character (and possible dreamer of this whole what-if story) emerges as Alex (Monica Bellucci), who suffers the worst in a very hard-to-watch rape sequence in an underpass. Semi-improvised, the scenes all have attack and power as themes, with later/earlier conversational sequences that suggest life isn't all sexual assaults in the dark, showing equal cinematic imagination with the horrors. Arguably, this is not a film most would subject themselves to twice, but it is something that stays in the mind for days after viewing, sparking far more ideas and emotions than most wallow-in-nastiness pictures. --Kim Newman
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was the most disturbingly brilliant film I've seen. The rape scene...the feeling of pure hatred for the attacker and hopelessness for the victim couldn't have felt worse... Read morePublished 28 days ago by Lois
"Irreversible" is not a pleasant film to watch, and it will upset more people than it doesn't, but in my view that is - sometimes, occasionally - the mark of a very good... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Brighton Breezy
It was ok after you understood what the hell was going on,like to see it the other way round ?Published 3 months ago by Mr Christopher Martin Smith
Graphic scenes with some long shaky camera movements which could have been edited out. But an interesting movie in the end.Published 4 months ago by S. Brown
A watch once experience, took me 2 attempts as the first 10 minutes made me switch off it was so annoying, that said it's all part of a nightmare in reverse.Published 6 months ago by Andy C
A very committed film and, although I didn't think the two violent set pieces were gratuitous, they are very gruesome. An astounding film in many ways.Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer