Sunday, August 10, 2008

Irreversible (2002; Gaspar Noé)

I am going to be completely blunt. This film almost perfectly demonstrates a balance between beauty and destruction.This film just goes from one extreme to the other so casually and smoothly you almost feel that such devastation and romance go together. We are voyeurs to the entirety of the act, floating so casually over each step.

The entirety of the film is not stretched, so we are really watching ninety-seven or so minutes of these peoples lives, yet the consequences of the acts performed in those drastic minutes are so far reaching it is almost incomprehensible. The story is unfolded to us backwords (Memento style for those who know it) and is infinetely more powerful. We are told the tale of a woman's (Alex; Monica Bellucci)
night with her current boyfriend and her ex as they go to a party. She gets in a fight with her boyfriend and leaves to go home and sleep. On her way back, she goes through an underground tunnel where she is brutally raped. I am talking brutally. This has to be one of the most emotionally potent scenes in cinema. After they discover what has happened by seeing her on a strecher (whether she died from the abuse or trauma or is just unconscious we never know) the men take matters into their hands.

The cinematography only adds to the impact. We are flown around on a freeroaming camera that seems to explore every possible angle of certain rooms. That sensation of being floated around leads to the sense of us simply being voyeurs to the crisis as it unfolds, and never feels over done or distracting. The only time I can recall the camera sitting still is during the one time we beg for it to move.

The color pallette used during the first half is dramatically different then what is used at the end. We are completely drenched in dark reds and black to where when we are finally treated to the rest of the color wheel we feel liberated and the tense nature of the colors becomes non-existant. This, of course, corrolates directly to the events in the film, which means the only uncomfortable feeling you have when the rape is over and the film tones down is the haunting memory that will continue to play through your head for a long time to come.

The film plays with some very heavy themes as well. It dabbles with the importance of dreams and the powers of time. Near the end of the film, at the start of their day, Alex tells her boyfriend the events of her dream, how she was traversing through a tunnel of red until it suddenly broke in two. The point where her old life ends and her new life begins.

I could go on for a long ass time, but I will cut it off there, having only touched each area of the film I felt was important so that you will have a feel of the film, but not come to full grips with it until you are thown into Alex's life yourself. The only flaw that detracts from this film is that it will suffer from more then one viewing.

Score: 4/5

Notes: Performance Problems, Philosopher, Bondage (Not In Rape)

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