Critics Consensus

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



Total Count: 122


Audience Score

User Ratings: 45,347
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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.

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Jo Prestia
as Le Tenia
Jean-Louis Costes
as Man Beaten to Death in Club
Christophe Lemaire
as Dancer with the Hawaiian Shirt
Gaspar Noé
as uncredited
as Taxi Driver
as Concha
Yann Le Quellec
as Inspector
as Janice
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Critic Reviews for Irréversible

All Critics (122) | Top Critics (35)

Audience Reviews for Irréversible

  • May 02, 2016
    One of the most disturbing films ever made, but also the best French extremity. Irreversible is a thought provoking tale of revenge and the irreversible time. The film is shot in a style that connects all the shots together to make it appear as one continuous long shot. The imagery was dark and dirty, the camera-work was purposefully disorientating to induce anxiety in the audience, coupled by the explicit violence, it was truly an uncomfortable film to watch. The plot was not presented in chronological manner that requires viewer to piece the puzzles together to understand the correct sequence of scenes. The fire extinguisher scene and the rape scenes are both explicit, I really do question the morality of the film regarding the the actions of the characters, Noe appeared to have made up accept the violence as an irreducible fact by dislocating our emotions with the disturbing elements of the film then gradually relate back to the happier times before all the events happened. Irreversible is a must watch for the hardcore film buffs.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • Sep 26, 2015
    Maybe Noe's backwards narrative was meant to be some kind of attempt to comment on the pointlessness of violence, but I couldn't care less. It doesn't change the fact that this is a thoroughly pretentious and disgusting film. Even if this is deranged commentary of some kind, the final product is so thoroughly unwatchable that it undermines itself . . . Whatever, that's probably what Noe wanted.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Mar 25, 2014
    "I'm in love, I'm in love, and I know it's true, for who-o-o wouldn't fall for irréversible you?" That accent mark over the first "e" sure is cute, but in all seriousness, people, this film is anything but cute, although I still stand by that reference to the Bobby Darin's adorable "Irresistible You". I mean, everyone seems to be liking this girl, because she's got two guys trying to avenge her, and one guy who raped her, so she seems mighty popular... as morbid as that is to say. Yeah, people, this subject matter is very serious, and as the Bobby Darin reference ought to tell you, I'm just trying to make light of things to calm down, because a lot of horrible, horrible, horrible things happen in this film, and you better believe that a lot of them are the doing of Vincent Cassel. Folks, you can joke about how he's a weird kind of handsome or whatever, but make sure he doesn't hear you, especially when he has a fire extinguisher nearby, and if you don't get that reference, well, watch this film at your own risk. I mean, Monica Bellucci is beautiful, and anyone who would defile that deserves quite the beating, but wow, I think that Roger Ebert hit the head with the fire extinguisher-I mean, the nail on the head when he said that most people might find this unwatchable, which isn't to say that I can blame Gaspar Noé for going this far. Seriously, someone had to come out and remind people that the French can get pretty hardcore, and let me tell you that the guy you need to see is, well, pretty much Luc Besson, at least sooner than Gaspar Noé, who has made quite the mess here, and not just literally (Oh, the horrible violence), which isn't to say that the film doesn't try at times, at least with its style. Distinguished by its intense efforts to try and immerse as much as it can, this film is very celebratory of a visual style that is done a great amount of justice by Benoît Debie's and Gaspar Noé's cinematography, whose grain-heavy emphasis on yellow coloration and sparse lighting is handsomely unique, while the overall shoot style, despite being way too shaky for its own good, has enough realism to its uniquely being constantly active to help in immerse. Noé's efforts as co-cinematographer to Debie, and as the director who utilizes aesthetics often pretty well, make the final product pretty solid, at least stylistically, but that's not to say that there aren't occasions in which Noé actually does something right in his handling of substance, playing with the aforementioned immersive visual style and even with the extremely underused and minimalist, but still rather refreshing score by Daft Punk's Thomas Bangalter in order to establish a slick atmosphere that, when used right, engages. Needless to say, the slick atmosphere is relatively rarely used right, or at least utilized well enough to carry all that much more than a frustrating sense of pretense, but I must admit that there are those occasions - rare though they may be - in which Noé's abstractionist storytelling efforts hit, drawing reasonably well on the depths of intriguing subject matter. This film's story concept is ever so grossly thinned out by a startlingly misguided interpretation whose occasions of effectiveness pale in comparison with the moments in which ideas that are questionable to begin with fall flat, and yet, when you manage to scratch away through all of the grime of pretentious and messy non-storytelling, this subject matter is fairly intriguing, at least enough for the final product to collapse all that deeply into contemptibility. It helps that the acting, even more so than the often overblown style, is the film's most consistently strong aspects, and a pretty important one at that, which can and does indeed do what it can to sell the harsh depths of this dramatic thriller with heavy emoting and disturbing presence that is, in fact, genuine. Most every other aspect which attempts to sell this colossal misfire of an art thriller is much more misguided than genuine, but when the strong performances are joined by some actual realization to storytelling, the film is fairly effective, almost to the point of achieving, at the very least, mediocrity. Alas, the film doesn't even make it that far, falling so flat that is frustrates as more-or-less a disaster of overambition, even within the violence department that everyone is talking about. Pretty much what's most discussed among the handful of people who were unfortunately subjected to this garbage is the graphic violence, and really, I was surprised to find that there are only so many scenes of violence in this film, but make no mistake, from the face-smashing scene to a rape scene that would perhaps be more effective if it didn't devolve into an extended shot which stretches on for minutes and minutes on monotonous end, what violence that is portrayed is handled with too much gratuitous brutality to carry all that much purpose, and not exactly justified by all that much depth to characterization. Being a human drama that ends up being much more occupied with style than its characters and other attributes to substance, this film is thoroughly underdeveloped, at least at first, following a reverse (Get it, [b]"reverse"[/b]) chronological structure that ends up being so convolutedly messy in its structuring that it's difficult to get all that much of a feel to what expository material is eventually gotten around to. Maybe the narrative dynamicity would be more palpable if each individual segment of this complexly structured drama wasn't so blasted monotonous, not so much because of excesses in material, but because of excesses in filler that ranges from sequences of pure nothingness to extended shots that stretch on, and on, and on, and on, until focus is lost with some kind of a control on an artistic license. Even in the way storytelling style is structured, this film is a misguided mess of artistic bloating, but the questionable "artistry" does not end there in this abstractionist drama whose mythology is sort of gotten used to after a while, but not to where you can completely get past the surrealism of the dialogue and set pieces, and overt strangeness to what characterization there is. Just about every character in this film is either lacking in human depth or just plain despicable, and that, coupled with many other questionable storytelling ideas, result in a script by Gaspar Noé that just doesn't work, not unlike a heavily atmospheric directorial performance by Noé that has its effective occasions, but is predominantly, not simply bland, or even dull, but tedious in its dryness and emotional coldness. Yes, people, when it's all said and done, the film, as a drama, is just plain cold, as surely as it is hopelessly misguided as an artistic endeavor, thus, the film stands as a perfect misfire that has its strengths, but has many more flaws, and would simply be too bland to be bad if it didn't have the audacity to feel demanding. When not cold or, well, actually kind of effective, Noé's atmosphere is rich with pretense, which looks down at its audience through all of its misguided efforts, as though you were a fool to not see the artistic value that simply isn't there, and that right there really frustrates, maybe not to where the strengths can be ignored, but certain to where it becomes harder and harder to ignore the messy touches that aggravate, until the final product collapses as, not just more trashy than arty, but just plain trash. When it's all said and finally done... in reverse order (Oh yeah, Gaspar Noé, you're so cute with your stylistic themes on reverse storytelling), on the back of fine visual style, some directorial highlights, reasonably intriguing subject matter and strong performances, strengths stand, but under the overwhelming weight of gratuitously graphic imagery, developmental shortcomings, a convoluted, monotonously draggy and all around overly abstractionist structure, and a punishingly cold and, worst of all, frustratingly pretentious directorial atmosphere, Gaspar Noé's "Irréversible" falls startlingly flat as tedious disaster of gritty artistic misguidedness. 1.75/5 - Poor
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Mar 24, 2014
    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 P Super Reviewer

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