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Irreversible [DVD] [2003]

3.6 out of 5 stars 162 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Monica Bellucci, Vincent Cassel, Albert Dupontel, Jo Prestia
  • Directors: Gaspar Noé
  • Writers: Gaspar Noé
  • Producers: Vincent Cassel, Gaspar Noé
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Tartan
  • DVD Release Date: 26 May 2003
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (162 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00008YNI2
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,855 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

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.

From Amazon.co.uk

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

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
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...Read more ›
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Format: 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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Format: 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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Format: 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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