Irreversible is notorious in many film geek circles. I don’t know anyone who actually owns a copy of the DVD or finds it enjoyable to return to over and over again. In fact most people who have seen this film see it once just to say they have seen it. It gives you instant cred to say “I made it through this film in one sitting.” I can now say that myself, but I do not the feel the better for it.
If you look up anything about this film, you will know right away one very important thing about it. It features a graphic and long rape scene. This scene is brutal. There is no way to get around it. Without the scene there would be no film. The premise is simple. A couple goes out with a friend and the girl gets mad at the boyfriend so she walks home by herself and on the way home she gets brutally raped and beat the shit out of her. The boyfriend sees her on a stretcher and proceeds to beat the shit out of the rapist in a gay night club. Because it is told backwards, there is a twist at the end which totally ruins the film for me. Spoilers: She is pregnant. Why does the director feel the need to put such an obvious twist in the film? Why does it matter that she is pregnant? It would have been just as horrible what happened to her if she wasn’t. It sort of pisses me off that this film is so manipulative. I understand the need to depict rape in a sexually unappetizing manner in order to get rid of the mystique, but everything surrounding it is obvious and gimmicky thus making an ineffectual film.
In Enter the Void, I felt the constantly moving and awkward progression of events was perfect for the subject matter. I thought it was effective in expressing the emotions of this man who is dying in a bathroom. But here the impact is lost when you put in massive effects like constantly moving the camera in that surreal circling motion and the obtuse color saturation. I don’t mind the film being told backwards, I just felt it would have a bigger impact on the audience if he told it without the gimmicks and the hacky plot twist at the end. Oh and who wears a slip to go out in? I get it she is beautiful and dripping sex, but it still doesn’t justify her being raped, but come on still be realistic about it. Even a model would not go out with boobs hanging out like that. Vincent Cassel was good and so was Monica Bellucci. She made getting raped very real and awful… Just thinking about how manipulative this film is makes me mad. Ugh.