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Irreversible (2002)

tomatometer

57

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

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

47

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

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

audience

81

liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 43,987

My Rating

Movie Info

Gaspar Noé's Irreversible utilizes the same storytelling technique used by Christopher Nolan in Memento and Harold Pinter in Betrayal. Consisting of about a dozen scenes, all shot in single takes, Irreversible charts a disturbing night in the life of Marcus (Vincent Cassel), but presents the events in reverse chronological order. The audience eventually learns how the beautiful Alex (Cassel's real-life partner Monica Bellucci) is involved. The film opens with a violent altercation at a gay sex

Unrated,

Art House & International, Drama

Gaspar Noe

Aug 5, 2003

$0.6M

Mars Films - Official Site External Icon

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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.

May 9, 2003 Full Review Source: Detroit Free Press | Comment (1)
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic IconTop 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 IconTop Critic

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

April 22, 2003 Full Review Source: Slate
Slate
Top Critic IconTop 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 | Comments (2)
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A genuine outlaw work of art.

April 11, 2003 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A sometimes repellent yet deeply moving film.

March 27, 2003 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

January 5, 2010 Full Review Source: TheMovieReport.com
TheMovieReport.com

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.

December 28, 2009 Full Review Source: Modamag.com
Modamag.com

The lurid gimmick of a barking sideshow host.

November 20, 2008 Full Review Source: Suite101.com
Suite101.com

Noe is a confrontational master, no question.

September 24, 2007 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

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.

June 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Scouts
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.

November 21, 2006 Full Review Source: Cinema Signals | Comments (2)
Cinema Signals

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

October 11, 2004 Full Review Source: JWR | Comments (2)

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

August 13, 2004 Full Review Source: Oregon Herald

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

March 8, 2004 Full Review
rec.arts.movies.reviews

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.

February 24, 2004 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
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.

January 25, 2004 Full Review Source: Uruguay Total
Uruguay Total

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

December 30, 2003 Full Review Source: New Times
New Times

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

November 16, 2003 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

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.

September 30, 2003 Full Review Source: Movie Magazine International
Movie Magazine International

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

September 4, 2003 Full Review

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

August 22, 2003 Full Review Source: Cinema em Cena
Cinema em Cena

All style and shock.

August 8, 2003 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
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.

June 4, 2003 Full Review Source: FilmStew.com

Shocking, disturbing, and a daring, electrifying work.

May 27, 2003 Full Review
FilmsInReview.com

...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

May 19, 2003 Full Review
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Audience Reviews for Irreversible

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.
March 24, 2014
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.
January 30, 2013
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.
January 23, 2013
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Not a date movie! Its a hardcore french film about revenge and RAPE! Gasper Noe does not pull any punches when making this film about an evening gone wrong.
October 25, 2011
paul o.
paul oh

Super Reviewer

    1. Pierre: You're behaving like an animal. Even animals don't seek revenge.
    – Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)
    1. Philippe: Time destroys everything.
    – Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)
View all quotes (2)

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