Gaspar Noé: Irreversible
February 8, 2012 1 Comment
I first learned about Argentinian born, French filmmaker Gaspar Noé when a friend lent me a copy of Destricted, a compilation of seven short art-house films that explore the thin line between Eros and pornography. Gaspar’s opus, We Fuck Alone is a 23-minute visual spectacle that delves into the bizarre world of extreme masturbation and unconventional self gratification. Let’s set Destricted aside for a while and talk about this particular Gaspar Noé movie that is extremely difficult to endure, and if you choose to endure it, it could leave you feeling angry and upset.
(Irreversible is) A fascinating study in excess, a movie that seduces and repulses as it explores the merciless nature of fate. — Rotten Tomatoes
Gaspar Noé employed in Irreversible a storytelling approach similar to that used by Chris Nolan in the movie Memento. With about a dozen scenes — all shots done in single takes — Irreversible follows a kaleidoscopic night in the life of Marcus (played by Vincent Cassel), with the events presented in reverse chronological order. The film opens with a violent altercation at a gay sex club called The Rectum, where a hastily-sought revenge results in several deeply unsatisfying acts of violence — the final one punctuated with a man’s skull being smashed flat by a fire extinguisher. The movie then works its way backward to explain how and why the violence occurred. A couple of scenes later, in excruciating, thrust-for-thrust detail, the reason for all that retribution is revealed.
And that’s all in the first thirty minutes or so.
From there, Noé calms things down and walks us back in time through a party, a provocative subway conversation, post-coital preparations for said party, a portentous moment in a local park, and, finally, an explosion of colors and light, enough to give you a seizure if you’re epileptic!
I don’t care much about what bullshit or New Age theory (if there’s any) Noé is trying to impart to his viewers via Irreversible — the futility of revenge or that time destroys everything, and all that crap. Well, I did my best to remain unaffected, but watching the brutality man inflicts on his fellow man — compounded by late night news you see on TV about some gangs marching merrily off to battle because they feel a rival group wronged them and that they have to do something in response to a savage act — an impeccably-crafted film like Irreversible sort of confirms our worst notions about humanity’s penchant for evil.
I tried to watch the movie again to ogle at Monica Bellucci’s mammaries, but turned the player off midway through the head bashing. Ugh!