Irreversible (2002) by Gasper Noe
Other films by Gasper Noe: Carne (1991), I Stand Alone (1998), Enter the Void (2009), 7 Days in Havana (2012)
First time I’ve heard of the film was from my good friend, Zandrei, who is also a very keen viewer of films. What highlighted the movie’s theme for me at that time was the intense rape scene that people kept talking about; how utterly realistic he (and most people later on) said it was. From then on, I tried watching it, with fear behind my eyes and tension lurking in the shadows of my mind. It probably took me almost a year to finally watch the film, and in between, I’ve actually acquainted myself of Gasper Noe’s style of directing. I’ve seen some scenes of the film and noticed how he practices with long continuous takes and dialogue, then I’ve watched the early scenes of his other film, Enter the Void, which also felt like a mind trip with its realistic narration and viewing. In simple words, Noe’s technique really intrigued me enough to identify him as a great artistic director even before having finished watching a film of his.
Once I was done watching Irreversible, I’m not sure if I was a little disappointed because of how high my expectations were, or if the film really did just lacked the emotional attachment that I thought it would carry with it and then later transfer to the viewer. The content, style, cinematography, was better than amazing, but maybe it just lacked the proper timing that it needed to allow the audience to fully grasp each scene and take it as if an experience inside one’s own consciousness. A little tweaking may be needed, or to be safer, a slight adjustment on the viewer’s end. Maybe the criticism are true, maybe the film focused too much on the violence that it managed to strip away the emotional pact that it would’ve made. Instead of feeling mere sadness, you feel anger and vengeance. But that’s not, for me, the complete story and lesson of the life in the film.
Directing: The camera work is just incredible and experimental as it tries to mend itself as an observer, like a fly or a wandering eye. The long continuous one takes just felt natural you almost don’t notice it; as if you are part of an ordinary yet unusual experience, even if it sounds ironic.
Gasper Noe’s a creative artist, still, and it’s very noticeable. The way the camera moves, the cinematography introduces each scene and performs the movement of progress with his angles, not to mention the added subtle content and reality that gives his film its own beating heart.
Plot: A shocking and heartbreaking night told in reverse. If you know these people, if you are one of them, imagine waking up the next day with the memory of waking up the day before.
There are a lot of parallelisms in the film: the tunnel of red dream, the bottle to the face, the spitting and short sensual scene, “I wanna fuck your ass.”, “the future is written.” –when they are all slowly realized, it could just break your heart knowing what’s to happen next. If we, or wait—a person, you, know the future, it must really hurt. It must really hurt to know what’s going to happen next.
The way the story is told is in reverse and it’s astonishing how the film reveals something shocking and significant in each scene. It is just very depressing how the lives of the main characters actually started very appealing, joyous and wonderful, yet end in such a gloomy and dark way. All moved by a trivial decision. In life, there are extreme risks I guess, even in the simplest intension and choice.
Characters/Acting: In-fucking-credible performance to all. And here’s the hierarchy: Bellucci, Cassel, Dupontel, and Prestia. Even the other minor characters performed very convincingly, it felt so real.
Score: Absent just how it should be. Yet, I have to give credit to the fantastic audio that carried us throughout the city.