Projections - Movie Reviews


Gaspar Noe's Irreversible is a very difficult viewing experience that will feel exploitative for many.  Starring Vincent Cassel and Monica Bellucci, both in the violent, yet entertaining Brother of the Wolf, it has many artistic qualities even if the daring director plays out scenes too long and too graphically.

There is a lengthily sequence of Bellucci's sultry Alex brutally raped with Noe's lurid lens eavesdropping.  The credits go backward as Irreversible begins and the words "Time destroys everything" are spoken by an odd fellow (Philippe Nahon).

A swirling visceral powerhouse occurs in a gay S&M hot spot with Alex's lover, Marcus (Cassel) and ex-boyfriend Pierre (Albert Dupontel) after the person who presumably did the horrible deed in a Paris underpass.  This non-linear tale gets off on the use of a fire extinguisher to exact the revenge on someone who turn out not to be the rapist.

Irreversible lessens its torrent of gratuitous wanton behavior as the last couple of reels get more into the Marcus, Pierre, Alex milieu.  There are some tensions in relationships and tenderness as Cassel and Bellucci endow a believable cinematic chemistry on-screen.  Noe works on the discomfort, but the director does it with an erotic, unmannered sense that catches one off guard in this charged psychological thriller.  Maybe it's meant to abuse in a way, but everyone opens up without the short-term amnesia of Memento to explore the delicate intersections of thought and existence.


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