Thursday, 11 November 2010

Irreversible (2002)

Irreversible (2002) US One-Sheet
 The relentless pulsating throb of Irreversible (2002) can be felt pumping hard and fast whilst the delectable Alex (Monica Bellucci) seduces you with her clingy silk slip and her sexy dancing. Meanwhile, her boyfriend Marcus (Vincent Cassel) snorts cocaine and absorbs the Parisian party ambience. Where do their lives go from here? The most disturbing aspect of Irreversible is that you already know. The future is dark and brutally violent. The film begins with a gaping wound and in reversing the film's chronological order, director Gasper Noe rubs in the salt, leaving you with scars that will last forever.

 Beginning at the end is the best place to start for Noe as the sentiment of his masterpiece would drown in futile gratuity otherwise. The technique is used as a means of exploring the certainty of fate and its result is terrifying. You need a strong stomach to survive the opening scenes as Marcus frantically searches the grimy passages of the Rectum – a seedy after hours place thumping with read lights and packed with leather clad weirdoes moaning and groaning like skinned cats on heat over an embolism inducing soundtrack that will melt your brain and leave you rocking in your seat. The camera swings alternately from absolute darkness to dark bodily imagery. Similar vertiginous sexual horror can be seen in Noe’s short We Fuck Alone, his contribution to porn-art experiment Destricted (2006).

Irreversible’s violence is so raw and fantastically gruesome, each thud or thrust has a visceral impact. The violence in the films opening scene is somewhat justified when the motive for the attack is revealed. Filmed in real-time, the nine minute brutal rape scene slams the audience onto the ground along with the victim, Alex and restricts them duplicating the horrific inescapability of the act. This is possibly the most harrowing scene committed to film. It is incredibly hard to endure as it draws on genuine fear and generates horror with such extreme realism. The rape scene is by no means gratuitous, it dually imposes the threat of a ‘real’ circumstance that draws attention to an issue that has and will continue to have an everlasting impact on millions of women all over the world.

As the film draws towards its conclusion the characters lives are investigated subtly as you time-travel to the beginning of their tragic day. Cassel and Belluci bring genuine romance to the screen with beautiful heartfelt conviction. Both actors are responsible for the production of the film and their passion for the project is evident in their much underrated and tremendously powerful performances.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) is an obvious influence on Gasper Noe’s directorial capacity and Kubrik has continued to inspire his latest Enter the Void (2010). His style is suave and fluid and his experience as a music video director is utilised impeccably with a continual flawless fusion of haunting sounds and graphic imagery. Ultimately Irreversible is horrific, sickening and almost unbearable but if you are a fan of film then you must see it, if only to figure out why, once the film has finished, you are left with such a warm feeling inside your heart.

View the trailer for Irreversible and Enter the Void & read more on Gasper Noe here. 

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