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Irréversible (2002)


Average Rating: 5.7/10
Reviews Counted: 120
Fresh: 68
Rotten: 52

Critics Consensus: Though well-filmed, Irreversible feels gratuitous in its extreme violence.

Average Rating: 5.3/10
Reviews Counted: 34
Fresh: 16
Rotten: 18

Critics Consensus: Though well-filmed, Irreversible feels gratuitous in its extreme violence.


Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 44,211


Movie Info

After a fight with her coked-up boyfriend Marcus, Alex leaves a party to go home. She never gets there; instead she's raped in a desolate tunnel. Her angry boyfriend, and her buddy Pierre decide to take justice into their own hands and hunt down the rapist themselves.

Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
Gaspar Noe
In Theaters:
Aug 5, 2003
Box Office:
Mars Films - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Irréversible

All Critics (132) | Top Critics (38) | Fresh (68) | Rotten (52) | DVD (17)

Extremely difficult to endure, and if you choose to endure it, it could leave you feeling angry and upset. Nevertheless, this is serious filmmaking, and Noe is a gifted filmmaker.

Full Review… | May 9, 2003
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic

A fascinating study in excess, a movie that seduces and repulses as it explores the merciless nature of fate.

April 24, 2003
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

There is nothing moral about Irreversible -- only sneeringly superior and nihilistic, like Johnny Rotten at his most fatuous.

Full Review… | April 22, 2003
Top Critic

Fails because of its gratuitous rape and violence and also because of its pretentious and intellectually one-dimensional grounds, which make the violence at the end feel even worse.

April 11, 2003
Washington Post
Top Critic

A genuine outlaw work of art.

Full Review… | April 11, 2003
Washington Post
Top Critic

A sometimes repellent yet deeply moving film.

Full Review… | March 27, 2003
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic

Noé weaves together the off-putting elements into something that sears itself permanently in the memory.

Full Review… | January 5, 2010

Contains crippling, extended acts of sexual violence and general inhumanity, yet, under the bleeding rawness of it all, was a film of brilliant technical achievement and unrivaled, unrelenting ferocity.

Full Review… | December 28, 2009

The lurid gimmick of a barking sideshow host.

Full Review… | November 20, 2008

Noe is a confrontational master, no question.

Full Review… | September 24, 2007

The film is almost unwatchable at the beginning, but the chaos and horror of the swinging camera stabilizes, the film becomes more structured and horrifying long after the cinematic devices calm down.

Full Review… | June 21, 2007
Film Scouts

Me? I'm going to go watch "The Brady Bunch" to wash these images out of mind. And, I'm going to withstand the fury of those who decide I'm a squeamish wimp.

Full Review… | November 21, 2006
Cinema Signals

... film does make one point beautifully: no matter which way a story is told, a bad script cannot be salvaged.

Full Review… | October 11, 2004

You'll leave the theater wishing the two hours you spent were not so irreversible.

Full Review… | August 13, 2004

While Noé's vision can seem unrelentingly sadistic and sexist, the film's raw emotion keeps it afloat.

Full Review… | March 8, 2004

Audacious it may be, Irreversible carries so little meaning, it plays like a self indulgent experiment, with barely a decent line of dialogue or anything discernible to say.

Full Review… | February 24, 2004
Urban Cinefile

Es difícil recordar otra experiencia tan perturbadora, en la que los recursos de lenguaje colocan al espectador en un estado sensorial difícil de explicar con palabras.

Full Review… | January 25, 2004
Uruguay Total

the film should be of particular interest to those of you skilled at repressing emotions

Full Review… | December 30, 2003
New Times

Despite the gut-wrenching gimmickry (and Monica Belluci hanging out in her birthday suit), Irreversible is almost Irredeemable

Full Review… | November 16, 2003

The detached clinical methodical style of some reptilian film critics since its release scrutinize the positioning of the camera in the rape scene-- almost like an autopsy.

Full Review… | September 30, 2003
Movie Magazine International

Irreversible is I Spit On Your Grave for the intellectual set ...

Full Review… | September 4, 2003

Quando o filme chegou ao fim, confesso que chorei - não pelo que havia acontecido, mas sim em função do que ainda iria acontecer.

Full Review… | August 22, 2003
Cinema em Cena

All style and shock.

Full Review… | August 8, 2003
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

While this movie does not encourage repeat viewing, those film fans who can steel their emotions will experience a singular film that will be nearly impossible to forget no matter how hard they try.

Full Review… | June 4, 2003

Shocking, disturbing, and a daring, electrifying work.

Full Review… | May 27, 2003

...not a great film, and not an easy one to watch, but it is an important one, a powerful argument against our old ways of doing business

Full Review… | May 19, 2003
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Audience Reviews for Irréversible


Review coming soon to

Alexander Diminiano

Super Reviewer

Whether or not they tried very hard to get some of the odd shots they pulled off, this whole film feels like build-up to nothing, because the last 20 minutes has the most relevance out of the entire film. "Irreversible" is notorious for it's rape scene, but I must say that I am surprised the film was even allowed to be released having that display. It may be some great and brutally honest acting, or he really did rape her, because I felt heartless after that scene. I do not have much to say about this film, because not really a whole lot happens until the end. It really is just a bizarre look into the directors mind I guess. This film will be forgotten in my mind for many reasons. There are some very cool edits and camera movements, but that is all this film has going for it. I didn't like it very much.

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

How difficult is it to show the inhumanity in rape and brutal violence? This film is too interested in setting up sick ironies, like one scene soon after we see a woman being raped, where she coldly tells her ex a few hours before hand that he couldn't ever please her sexually because he wasn't selfish enough. Or towards the end (at the tragic day's beginning), when she defiantly lectures to her current lover that he didn't steal her from another man, because a woman always chooses in the end. In almost every shot with the victim, the focus is on her as a sexual object. If the intent for showing the story backwards was for us to see the humanity of a woman we see raped and brutalized, then the last half of the script did a lackluster job, spending its time weaving something more devious. In fact, following the life of any female character for 40 minutes before she is raped would have made such a violent assault even more difficult to watch, not easier. This is an amoral exploitation film dressed in smoke and mirrors.

Matthew Slaven
Matthew Slaven

Super Reviewer

Just one day after watching Oldboy and calling it one of the more grueling films I'd seen in a while, I finally sat down to watch the much talked about Gaspar Noe film Irreversible, and yeah, we have a new champion. This might be the most disturbing/distressing, and unrelenting film I've seen period.

And you know what? I actually rather respect and admire this movie. I can't say I necessarily liked it or enjoyed it, but I am glad I saw it.

A conventional story of brutal revenge and equally brutal revenge that takes place over the course of one nightmarish night is done in a really unconventional way, and that's probably the film's saving grace. We get about 12 or 13 extended scenes, each done as a single take (or at least appearing to be that way) presented in reverse chronological order. Doing a film in reverse has only been done two other times so far (Harold Pinter's Betrayal and Christopher Nolan's Memento), but I'm going to guess that its usage here is far more important and less gimmicky than with the other two, and I have to guess since I haven't seen the Pinter film.

It really works though, and isn't a gimmick, because showing the film in the correct order would just make it purely exploitative; Having the revenge, then the rape, then the peace makes you rethink the scenario, and the film earns its graphic content that way.

Yeah, the film isn't just about the infamous 9 minute rape (which is undeniably all a single take), or the fire extinguisher beating. It has a point, and works as an unrelenting study in depravity, cause and effect, and the consequences of actions and revenge.

From structural and technical standpoints, the film is quite masterful and arty. I loved the reverse narrative, I adored the use of extended takes (even though some are disguised, and meant to appear as single takes), and the mise-en-scene that is employed (primarily though cinematography and sound design) to make this film a really uncomfortable, grueling, and awful experience. It gets the point across quite nicely, and does have a moral stance on rape, despite how unsubtle and vile the method of delivery.

The performances are great. Real life husband and wife Monica Bellucci and Vicnent Cassel are great as screen couple Alex (the victim) and Marcus (one of her avengers), and you can tell they have great chemistry with one another. I also really have to applaud them for their willingness to take part in this, given the nature of things. By having the film play out as it does, we get a far better and richer understanding of their characters, which wouldn't happened if this was done in a straightforward way. Albert Dupontel is also great as Alex's former lover and Marcus's best friend. Then there's Jo Prestia as Le Tenia, who easily succeeds as one of the most vile and detestable screen characters ever.

This is not an easy film to watch, but it is worth it.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Irréversible Quotes

You're behaving like an animal. Even animals don't seek revenge.
– Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
Time destroys everything.
– Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)

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