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Irreversible
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Product Description

Alex and Marcus are a couple whose story is told over the course of a fateful evening in a series of long takes. An emotional odyssey that unspools in reverse from gut-wrenching violence to sweetly observed moments of sublime tenderness.

System Requirements:

  • Starring Albert Dupontel, Monica Bellucci, Vincent Cassel
  • Directed by Noe
  • Running time: 97 minutes
  • Copyright Lion's Gate 2003

    Format: DVD MOVIE

    Irreversible begins with the closing credits running backwards before the film begins (or ends) with Marcus (Vincent Cassell) and Pierre (Albert Dupontel) being escorted out of a gay S&M club by the cops, Marcus with his arm broken and Pierre in handcuffs. The "story" proceeds to unwind in a series of single-take scenes that unfold Memento-style, with each scene giving more context to what we have seen previously. Each scenario depicts actions, dialogue, incident, behavior, and circumstances that the lead characters might have wished didn't happen, ranging from extreme violence through awkward social situations to mild embarrassment. The central character (and possible dreamer of this whole what-if story) emerges as Alex (Monica Bellucci), who suffers the worst in a very hard-to-watch rape sequence in an underpass. Semi-improvised, the scenes all have attack and power as themes, with later/earlier conversational sequences that suggest life isn't all sexual assaults in the dark, showing equal cinematic imagination with the horrors. Arguably, this is not a film most would subject themselves to twice, but it is something that stays in the mind for days after viewing, sparking far more ideas and emotions than most wallow-in-nastiness pictures. --Kim Newman
  • Customer Reviews:

    • Huge visceral impact the first time, subsequent viewings, no....
      This film is ugly, brutal, depressing, visceral, and hopeless. The
      first time I saw it, I was devastated. I reeled for days afterwards.
      But seeing it a 2nd time, I didn't care for it as much, in fact, I feel
      I've been had. Its impact is really felt the first time you see it,
      because seeing it the 2nd time, you realise a lot of things about it
      that aren't particularly good. Most of the dialogue is poor (most of it
      was improvised, and not very well), the violence of the film is
      purposely over the top, and Noe the director seems to delight in
      showing nasty stuff without really bringing a sense of art to it. He
      enjoys rubbing your face in the sleazy, horrific violence, but has no
      purpose other than saying "life is brutal". I can't deny that the film
      did have a great impact upon first viewing, but too often when one's
      sense are assaulted (like they are here), you can mistake that for
      great, artistic film-making.

      Technically, the film is astounding. It was shot mostly in long takes,
      but edited together with CGI effects (the smashing of the head in the
      gay bar at the beginning was done digitally, as part of the rape
      scene). It's definitely a curiosity, but realise what you're getting
      into. It's really not for the squeamish. The opening scene in the gay
      bar is dizzying and brutal, and the rape scene is beyond brutal. Noe
      films the rape scene in one take, which makes it even more difficult to
      watch. Is the film art? No, it isn't. Simply because the film polarized
      audiences doesn't make it art (a common assumption by people). Noe's
      films (he's only complete 2 features) aren't really deep or anything,
      just pessimistic and brutal.

      A telling episode about Noe happened a year or so ago. The IFC Theater
      in NYC has a feature they do occasionally. They bring in a filmmaker to
      introduce a film they admire. Noe showed his first film, I Stand Alone,
      and Pasolini's Salo. After Noe's film concluded, he talked to the
      audience on why he wanted to show Salo. All he talked about was the
      coprophilia scenes (aka the s**t eating scenes). He didn't talk about
      anything else that Salo had to offer (in terms of its message on
      fascism, sexual perversion, the cinematography, the production design).
      Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom is actually an excellent film. It's
      incredibly depressing and brutal, but has a real sense of art and is a
      genuinely controversial film, even to this day. Noe's films (he's made
      only 2) are not like this at all. Both I Stand Alone and Irreversible
      hit you in the face the first time you see them, but you shake it off,
      and Noe has nothing more to give you. This film has no resonance at
      all. It's just for shock value....more info
    • Shock value..
      This hype surrounding this movie was justified. The two major scenes were as graphic as advertised. So, if you have a weak stomach I would advise that you not purchase this flick. Otherwise, I would definitely recommend this movie for anyone who is unphased by graphic violence in cinema. ...more info
    • Different, yes...
      WARNING: SPOILERS. Opening scene is quite shocking. Some graphic effects. There is more male nudity and male genitalia than female. There is only one quick...very quick female genitalia shot near the beginning, or "end" of the movie. Since the movie begins with the "ending scene" and ends with the "opening scene". The rape scene is violent, with graphic language. Obviously actual penetration is achieved (anal)...but none shown. Not even a good boob shot. You "of course" see the male genitalia (big deal)!

      Movie is revenge driven...and that seems to be about it. Doesn't have a great script...may be good to the French...but, not to US standards. Movie is in French with English subtitles. ...more info
    • Will The Beauty Save The World?,

      *** This comment may contain spoilers ***

      The plot of the film is simple: a woman (Monica Belucci) is brutally raped by a stranger; and her boyfriend (Vincent Cassel) and ex-boyfriend (Albert Dupontel) who are best friends set out for revenge. What is crucial, the story is told backward.

      The most obvious success for this film is the directing by Noe. He has crafted a nightmare that is both original and horrifying. If the inferno exists somewhere, one of its circles definitely looks like the "The Rectum" bar, and the other - like the underpass where Alex (Monica Belucci) was brutally sodomized and beaten for long nine minutes that seemed as an eternity. The pulsing score that accompanies the film contains, for the first sixty minutes, a constant 27-hertz tone specifically designed by No¨¦ to cause nausea in the audience. It felt like someone was constantly drilling the holes in my head. The director creates the scenes of such pain and violence that makes "Natural Born Killers" look and feel like a puppet show. One of these is a scene where a man gets his head bashed in with a fire extinguisher with the camera never turned away and the sound is amplified.

      The movie shocks you, and then it goes and shocks you even more when there is no violence on the screen. I broke in tears during the bedroom scene - so much love, tenderness and desire Monica and Vincent had for each other. They did not know what was ahead; I did.

      In the end, one cannot help questioning the very fragile, illusory nature of happiness, how easy it is to destroy everything. Is it a blessing or curse not to know what lies ahead and not be able to change the future?

      Dostoevsky said almost hundred and fifty years ago that the Beauty will save the world. I don't know. Not this world. Not during my time.

      "Irreversible" is a shocking anti-violence film; one has to decide whether he or she wants to see it. I personally think it is a must see but I would not be surprised if a lot of viewers refuse.
      ...more info
    • Worthwhile but too often tedious
      Why did so many people have trouble following this movie? Once you realize that the scenes are in reverse order -- which should become apparent early in the film -- the narrative is quite simple. And this is actually one of the film's weaknesses.

      In "Memento," for example, the labyrinthine reversed narrative continually forces the viewer to reinterpret everything seen earlier (later) in the movie. "5x2" provides increasing psychological depth and poignance as the story of the two lovers moves towards its conclusion (beginning). But with "Irreversible," it's just ... well, backwards. The relatively peaceful scenes following the rape are, for the most part, tedious and dull and overlong. The big "surprise" near the end is a wet firecracker compared to several of the powerful scenes in the first part of the film.

      It is these earlier scenes from which "Irreversible" has surely gained its accolades, and much of this praise is well deserved. Both the rape and (especially) the attack with the fire extinguisher are truly horrifying -- and that's a good thing. Rarely has the repellence of brutal acts like these been caught so vividly on film.

      The spinning, meandering camerawork and monotonous thudding soundtrack are less successful, however. The techniques themselves are interesting and effective at first, but the viewer's initial sense of disorientation and unease soon turns to simple irritation as the sight and sound gimmicks overstay their welcome.

      "Irreversible" contains a number of powerful scenes and is well worth seeing for those who can stomach the violence. Just don't come in expecting a brilliant narrative, depth of characterization, or psychological complexity.
      ...more info
    • Monica Bellucci is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen in hollywood
      I don't like the movie, but I like Monica Bellucci, she is very beautiful and her body is the goddess. ...more info
    • Tough to Watch
      Good story, albeit told backwards, two extremely violent scenes, one very cool, one (the rape scene) not exactly a pleasant view, and dizzying and sometimes nonsensical camera work, make for an interesting movie. Not great, but interesting. ...more info
    • Major Disburbing
      To say this movie is disburbing is a major understatement. I was so dizzy from the first 10 minutes, I got sick; but that was nothing for what was to come. I wish time was reversible to where I could go back and not see this one....more info
    • Erase And Rewind

      ...if only life were as subtle as Nina Perrson suggests;...Upon learning that his girlfriend Alex (Monica Bellucci) is raped and brutally beaten, Marcus (Vincent Cassell) and his friend Pierre (Albert Dupontel) are summoned by the local crime syndicate to seek revenge and find the thug who committed this heinous act. To describe the vengeance that follows (or in this case, supersedes) would only drain the vocabulary of superlatives. As the viewer is put through a series of what "could've been" . Such as Marcus testing Alex's patience with his reckless drug usage at a party that same evening, forcing her to leave early in disgust. Or, even following her out the door after she leaves just to make sure she gets a cab ride home. Pierre even hints at the dangers that lurk about outside as Alex is leaving and tells her to be careful. If only Marcus and Pierre had put fourth more effort to try to defuse the situation. If only Marcus had a real "friend" instead of his girlfriends ex-boyfriend.

      You're almost left with the impression that Pierre really doesn't have his friend's best interests in mind...I mean, what's Pierre's agenda in all this? Could he really be considered a friend of Marcus given the circumstances involved (an ex-boyfriend who clearly wants Alex back)? While Marcus almost being forced to react (by the local organized crime elements) without proper prosecution to avenge his own ridiculous behavior at the party. The film unfolds with Marcus and Pierre being led out of a bar by police. One in handcuffs, the other with a broken arm (ironic considering Marcus found the right guy at the bar but attacked the other guy he was standing with...just before Pierre saves the day with a fire extinguisher, or so he thought). And ends with Alex reading a book underneath a bright blue sky. She's alone with her thoughts, perhaps contemplating her approach to Marcus concerning her possible pregnancy. Or, was she thinking about Pierre (considering what she was reading)? ..."I've changed my mind, I take it back, erase and rewind"...

      olofpalme63...more info
    • Not worth the hype OR the hatred
      The simple truth is, this movie is boring. Yes, it has a really long (not to say interminable) rape scene in it, and yes, some guy gets his head smashed in with a fire extinguisher. But so what? It's still boring. We just sort of drift around from moment to moment, through what seem to be virtually unscripted scenes, backwards through the "story," which has pretty much no focus or ultimate impact. Then it's over and you get to do something more interesting, like shine the silverware. Don't get me wrong, I like dark and disturbing films (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, anyone?), but I prefer them to at least be interesting and involving. I'd take anything David Cronenberg ever made over this, and I'm including the early stuff....more info
    • Eventually, time will destroy us all
      Irreversible may be an ultra violent film that will shock certain unsuspecting audiences upon first viewing, but it illustrates a fundamental point about "relationships." Whether we like it or not, someday our relationships will end. No matter how happy you may seem with a girl, someday there will be an impenetrable distance between you -- it could be anything from growing bored with each other to death. The fact still remains that all good things eventually come to an end, and this film illustrates that point in a rather over the top, yet tragic way. The film opens up with two men rummaging through a homosexual night club. They are in a world of depravity; a dissonant sounding drone plays over a very shaky camera. This is an underworld of depravity; they are far from the moral world and they are slowly sinking into madness. They are looking for a man -- a man who has committed one of the worst sins imaginable against the woman that they both love. This man has raped and brutally beat a woman to near death. And our heroes are looking for vindictive revenge. What results is one of the most brutal scenes ever captured on film. Irreversible doesn't look away, it captures the brutality with an unflinching sense of realism. Unlike many Hollywood films that only imply, this film doesn't care about your personal confront. It fleshes everything out and shows you the brutality of the situation. After that, we slowly travel to the beginning...

      This is a very powerful film. It is one of the darkest movies I have ever seen, which is saying a lot. Overall, I think this film is better and more effective than I Stand Alone. What makes this movie good is that it takes normal people (like you and me) and shows how they can turn into extremely violent ticking time bombs. This film is a lot like Requiem for a Dream, since practically everyone in the movie goes from being really happy to having their lives ruined. Of course, the film is played backwards, which in a way makes the film even more tragic. And as the name implies, the choices we make in life are "irreversible." ...more info
    • Dagwood
      An interesting concept of running the film backwards, starting at the finish of the movie.
      ...more info
    • Weird
      This movie is very weird and it makes you really dizzy. It shows you the end first and then shows you the events that lead up to it. Not a movie for children at all!...more info
    • disturbing, brilliant, near perfect
      Other than the slightly confusing chronology of the very last scenes (made up for by an overwhelming and very sudden ending), this is one of the most gorgeous and brutal films I have ever seen. The cast is flawless, which actually aids in the discomfort factor...when Monica Bellucci's character is raped, it isn't just the ultra-raw, minimal camera style (the camera stays completely stationary) that causes you to flinch-it's the moans and screams that she makes during the entire ordeal. You actually feel like you're watching a woman get brutally assaulted...and even with all that going on, the director manages to add another disturbing elemant to the shot toward the end. While a lot of "disturbing-film-list" movies can be pointless and gratuitous, the violence here is not only realistic and essential to the storytelling, but actually underscores the even more disturbing "can't turn back time/no matter how bad it is it can get MUCH worse" message contained in the characters' actions and futile attempts at "justice". Not for the faint of heart, but if you love the artistic aspect of movie-making, this is an amazingly crafted film that almost makes you feel as if you're being slapped in the face while watching....more info
    • Wow
      I have recently gone on a search to find films that can actually shock me, even a little. This film did a good job. Thoug you can get annoyed with the overall camera angle and general gritty way the film is done, some how even that cannot over shadow the entire feeling.

      The rape scene though terribly long and drawn out, is effective in its harshness. It is perverse to say the least but still I think it may be the first 10 minutes the of the film that onestly shocked me. I almost could not believe what I was seeing. Honestly these acts of voilence take a stronger hold as the film moves along. Though the rape scene is graphic it doesnt really "hit" you until several scenes later wen you get to know and even care about this free spirited women who seem to have a great deal to look forward to. That is the real shock and violence of the movie. If you just want gore then you are not looking deeper into this film's basic message.

      This movie is not for kids and I would recommend watching it alone the first time to overcome the slight uncomfortable feeling the film can invoke. ...more info
    • Pretty Good Flick
      The single shot camera action in the beginning is a bit nauseating, but it adds to the affect of the storyline very well. Simply done and well acted. This one's worth seeing just figuring out the story. Graphically realistic situation that can happen to anyone. ...more info
    • Hard to Watch, But Leaves Viewers Mesmerized
      I'll admit, I was a bit confused when I put the disc into the dvd player and found that the credits rolled through when I pushed play. Odd; perhaps that is they way they do it in France, I thought. Then it donned on me--the title--Irreversible. Very clever, this Noe guy. And in fact, the entire movie tells the story in reverse order. What the viewer experiences is the climax, in all of its brutal ugliness, first, followed by the events that lead up to it, and along the way, the viewer becomes aware of the complexity of emotions, actions and relationships between the main characters.

      Having heard of Noe's other works, including "I Stand Alone," I wondered if his true fascination lies with violence and shock value because "Irreversible" contains incredibly graphic violence (some of it sexual) that would no doubt please the hardest of the hardcore gore hounds. But, this reviewer does not think it is Noe's only fascination.

      There is more to Noe's method than just madness. The rape scene is indeed one of the longest, but, after the dizzying violence (literally--the camera panning is a little annoying), the story surfaces. Despite the subtle character development, Noe effectively pulls the viewer into a feeling of intimacy shared with the two lovers. The graphic and brutally intense scenes become memories off somewhere in the distance--the writing is already on the wall and "future" events cannot be changed. This churns one's stomach even more than the violence witnessed early on. In fact, the last scene--as simple as it is--may be Noe's most effective and artistic, as this theme truly resonates with the viewer and transcends all of the ugliness.

      I can say I recommend this film, but be warned, its not easy to watch. It is not for the easily offended, weak at heart and *definitely* not for children...more info
    • Not as bad as I was told
      Everything that needs to be said about this movie has been said. However, I just wanted to throw out there that the Death-by-fire extinguisher scene wasn't so unwatchable that I wanted to turn off the movie or vomit. The Rape scene was NOT as graphic as others I have seen on other (Hollywood) movies. The movie itself was decent, but the beginning was pretty wild, and did almost make me puke out of pure motion sickness....more info
    • The Truth is Hard To Bear...
      Vincent Cassel has been one of my husband's favorite actor for some time now. Ironically, that is how we came to watch this film "Irreversible." I knew nothing of this film other than: 1.) Vincent Cassel 2.) Monica Belluci (One of MY favorite actresses; Please watch "Malena") 3.) French film. These facts did not prepare me in the least bit for what we were about to see.

      I do not actively pursue the "super-violence" in film. I do, however, pursue creativity at its greatest with a camera and that is what this film has completely and utterly achieved.

      Was it hard to watch? Absolutely. Would I watch it again? Never. Do I think it is one of the greatest achievements in film? Undoubtedly.

      If this film had come out in the U.S., it would never have been released under an "R" rating. MAYBE NC-17 and thats if luck is on your side. I am saying this to give the viewer of this review a very clear message that the scenes of rape and violence are so hard to watch that tears welled up in my eyes and I had to look away for SEVERAL minutes; the sounds were enough though, believe me.

      Almodovar achieves this very specific and rare talent for taking a subject in which no one, and I mean no one, would ever pay for as entertainment for the weekend evening. "Bad Educacion" is about priests molesting little boys. Horrible topic but wonderful movie.

      Child abuse is very real. And so is RAPE. 1 in 4 women in the U.S. has been raped.

      This film is VERY REAL. The rape scene is 9 MINUTES long. You squirm, you are in disgust , and you feel, well, frankly raped yourself. That is why people walked out of the movie theaters.

      It is so important for us to understand the plights of others on EVERY level so that we may prevent and educate. Doing this through a film is significant since we are now in the age of iphones, internet; antiquated modes of communication such as books, newspapers, etc are being pushed into oblivion. Thus, the accessibility of this movie with such a powerhouse crew of actors allows random members of the public to experience this compelling film.

      ...more info
    • Backwards Through Time
      This movie is regarded as either redeemable art or as a reprehensible freak show. That depends whether you think that the filmmaker demonstrated sufficient pathos for Alex, Pierre and Marcus. Or whether this movie is just a clever gimmick, as an excuse to show relentless cruelty.

      For me, that answer is yes: this movie is art, and there is pathos. For many the answer will be no.

      I actually watched the second half of the movie (the "good" half) twice. It became more poignant and revelatory. The theme of premonition, and dreaming the future into being, became clearer. Also, Marcus and Pierre are in a real sense two different parts of the same male soul. Ironically, their respective roles as savage and intellectual switch at the beginning (chronological end) of the movie.

      As things unravel and become more chaotic at the party, you can sense these characters' dsscent into hell. It's not as simple as saying that Alex' behavior precipitated the rape. It's not that simple. Actually that is not what is being said here at all.

      Most movies start with order and reason, and then create conflict and pain, only to return back to order and reason again. This movie says the exact opposite: That love and goodness dwell on a fragile island surrounded by pain and evil. The final camera shot that spins out of control, with a disturbing flashing and throbbing buzzing, reminds us that all is madness outside of love.

      ...more info
    • Woman-hating
      This film is exploitation at its worst. Not only indulging in rape but also locating the film's ultimate trauma in the woman's hidden pregnancy, as if rape is not a violent enough act when the victim isn't pregnant. Disgusting, and everyone who likes this film scares the hell out of me....more info
    • Don't waste your time or money....
      I liked Momento, but this was really something else. It's camera angles, shaky shots, overly dark choppy frames, it was awful. Not to mention the story wasn't developed, and you don't end up caring about anyone. Besides the extremely long and graphic rape scene, which I agree is horrific, you just watch and kinda' wish the whole stupid movie was over. ...more info
    • Hardest film I've ever seen
      Irreversible sparked my interest because several politicians in Australia wanted to have it banned here. I wanted to know why I shouldn't be allowed to see this film.
      The device of running each of the scenes in reverse order is an effective one in this film and it reverses "causality" and we see the results of a situation before we film out what caused it.

      We meet Monica Bellucci's boyfriend and their mutual friend early in the film and I thought that they were a couple of sick, testosterone driven criminals.... However, slowly, but surely, we discover the horrible truth - that a brutal and inhuman act of violence towards Monica Bellucci has pushed them over the edge.

      We step deeper and deeper back in time and learn that the trio of friends were leading a happy bohemian life. We finally find Monica Bellucci in the final (first) scene peacefully ready a book on the grass of a park, children a playing nearby and the Allegretto from Beethoven's 7th Symphony is playing in the background. The music brings us both peace at the end of this film and also reminds us of the tragedy we have just witnessed.

      Irreversible is a difficult film. It is difficult to watch and difficult to consider. It shows us entropy - of time, relationships, beauty and idealism. I guess it also shows us that extreme situations can push normally decent human beings into barbarism.

      I don't think I would or could watch Irreversible again any time soon. However, I am glad that I've seen it and I certainly don't think it should have been banned.

      Please understand that this is a very adult movie and it certainly isn't for everyone. Irreversible is a very confronting experience. I haven't made up my mind yet about the importance of that experience. ...more info
    • stink,stank,stunk
      This movie rates NO stars!!! A real,real bad movie!!! A"gag me with a spoon" movie....more info
    • WARNING!
      Most brutal rape scene ever. I wanted to throw up in my mouth a little. However, if you liked Memento you will definately like this movie because it is shot in a similar manner. Good flick overall....more info
    • very disturbing
      i went to see this movie at the cinema hear in mtl qc when it came out, the 1st i did coming out of the movie was to take a shower !!!! this is
      the most f... up movie i saw in my life & i saw alot trust me . i dont
      recommend this movie to every one.
      ...more info
    • Amazing
      This movie is absolutely mind-blowing. The extra regarding the special effects in the movie's goriest scene was really interesting, especially since i was wondering how they'd made it look so real. Not for the faint of heart....more info
    • Not for the faint of heart
      The title of my review is no joke. This is a harsh film that should be treated as such. It is a grueling tale told from end to beginning, like that of "Memento."

      It's dizzy effects in the beginning fade to subtle as the story unravels itself. Be warned that the first half of the movie is extremely violent from scenes of a bloody beating to a horrific-ly realistic rape scene involving Monica Bellucci's character.

      As jarring as the movie is, it should not be swept under the carpet as some celloid trash. It delves deep into one's being and makes the viewer say, "That couldn't possibly happen in 'real' life." Yet, revenge is very real in every sense of the word.

      Kudos to Ms. Bellucci for taking on such a dramatically daring role that no other "Hollywood" actress would even dare to do. It seems so real what is happening to her you want to cry and/or kick the hell out of the man that brutalizes her.
      ...more info
    • Interesting Movie
      This is a well produced story. The dialogue is all improvised and amazingly done. The acting is very good.

      The rape scene was a bit disturbing because it seemed a bit exploitive. I also didn't like the treatment of the foreigners or how all the gay guys were portrayed as "animals" in the Rectum.

      I like how the reverse chronology is used to convey a feel of being in each moment of each scene.

      Monica Bellucci is brilliant. ...more info
    • im seasick
      was forwarned about this one..but wanted to experience it myself. the directors camera style was very hard to take but overall added to the feeling of control being taken from you. great performances by all the actors. the reverse storytelling was used to great advantage. subtitles not to hard to follow..overall a shocking unexpected experience i would give 5 outa 5 to. ...more info
    • Dark and hypnotic
      Monica Belluci is one of the most beautiful women on the planet. For that reason this movie is a must own. But be warned as this is a dark and graphic tale of revenge that will haunt you for days, months, even years maybe. ...more info
    • Irreversible
      Very difficult to watch. Some of the film was to dark to see the action. Also, the spinning camara effects were difficult to take. I like foreign films and am glad I purchased. The violence in this movie does appear real and will shock. ...more info