Friday, August 2, 2013

Irreversible (2002)

Those French.  They sure know how to make a fucked up movie.   Irreversible is a movie that is completely backwards.  It starts at the end of the story and goes back to the beginning.  It was named one of the most walked-out-of movies of the year, and 200 people walked out in Cannes alone.  On top of all the violence and rape, there's actually a low-grade sound playing through much of the movie, which causes nausea and vertigo.  Of course, there's also the constant spinning and bizarre shots as well.

The soundtrack is composed by Thomas Bangalter, aka one half of Daft Punk.  Real-life couple Vincent Cassel and Monica Belucci star as Marcus and Alex. The movie was written and directed by Gaspar Noe, also known for I Stand Alone and Enter the Void.  

SPOILERS AHEAD because it's hard to describe this movie without spoiling it.  Irreversible, is, in short, the story of Alex, who is brutally raped on the way home from a party, and her boyfriend and ex-boyfriend, Marcus and Pierre, who track down the man who attacked her.  But I guess I'll tell the story in reverse from here?  This is a hard movie to review, especially since I like to write while I watch.  They track the rapist down to a gay S&M club called The Rectum.  If you're sensitive to gay sex scenes, this movie is not for you.  But if you like someone pounding the shit out of a dude's face with a fire extinguisher, this is the flick for you.  (Also, lots of gay and racial insults, heads up)

The infamous rape scene is about as brutal as I've ever seen, maybe save for I Spit on Your Grave or Last House on the Left.  I guess it's also quite the social commentary that not only did a female direct her towards the clearly dangerous underpass, but a man witnessed the rape and turned the other cheek. At the party, Marcus acts like a total douche while Pierre tries to control the situation.  And back to a romantic scene at home, where Alex reveals she is pregnant.  Back to a calm scene in the park, where she reads a book, and we repeat the sort-of tagline, "Time Destroys Everything."

I wouldn't say this is my favorite French movie (Martyrs holds that title) but this is an intense and well-written movie, that has a really interesting structure.  Vincent Cassel and Monica Belluci are great, as expected, and I didn't think the rape scene was overdone.  The whole thing tied together really well, and I appreciated it as a film.  I don't think you necessarily say you "like" a movie that plays sounds to make you nauseous and has a woman get anally raped for 10 minutes.

Side note: Is it weird that I think Vincent Cassel is sexy?  He is, right?  I'm not much for skinny guys, but damn.