Guts and Grog Tooned Up

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Maynard's Irreversible

Original Title:

German Title:
France, 2002
Director: Gaspar Noé

Ending credits. Reversed. No first names. Only surnames.
Various letters mirror-inverted.
Slowly rolling down. Slowly sloping. Slowly moving across the screen.
An image of a man sitting in a bed, tumbling.
Then, a fanfare. Large drums. Names appear. Titles. Words. All glimmering.
White. Yellow.


That's how it begins. Gaspar Noé's uncompromising "Irréversible", one of the most scandalous, most discussed European films of the last 20 years. Newsweek called it "the most walked-out movie of 2003". Roger Ebert called it "a movie so violent and cruel, most people will find it unwatchable" (though he still gave it a 3/4).
To all the people who haven't seen it yet: yes, it is that brutal. And vile. And mean. And disturbing. And fucking gruesome. But at the same time, it's beautiful, it's mesmerizing, it's fascinating and it's fucking impressive. "Irréversible" is a movie as powerful as a battering ram or a steam hammer. No matter if you like or dislike what you see, it will hit you like a brick in the face, no doubt.


13 scenes, presented in reverse chronological order - and no, this is definitely not "Memento". It's the story of Alex (Monica Bellucci), her boyfriend Marcus (Vincent Cassel) and her ex Pierre (Albert Dupontel). On her way home after a party, Alex gets brutally raped and abused in an underpass by a brutal pimp called "Le Tenia" (=The Tapeworm). Marcus and Pierre seek for revenge and rampage through the city until they land in a gay BDSM club called "Rectum".
There, the situation escalates...

"Irréversible" starts out harsh and brute, but ends up sweet and almost heartwarming. No kidding. The first 53 minutes are filled with disturbing, disgusting brutality. The remaining 40 minutes consist of long, amusing dialogue, scenes at a rambunctious party and some really touching intimate moments.
It's a bit like
"Straw Dogs", but in reverse.


The violence is breathtaking. Not pleasant, but striking and powerful. There's the one scene where Marcus rushes through the "Rectum", a kaleidoscope of dark and confusing corridors, passing by people performing all kinds of sexual acts (fucking, blowjob, fisting, masturbating...), until he finds a man who could be Le Tenia, but actually isn't. A dispute, fistfight, a broken arm, attempted anal rape... and then it happens: the infamous fire extinguisher scene, the single most gruesome scenes I've ever, EVER seen. Never has a smashed face in a movied looked so real.


The other infamous scene is even more infamous, and in some kinda of way even more gruesome: the rape scene in the passage. For about 12 minutes we get to see Monica Bellucci getting vulgarly insulted, anally raped, kicked in her face, beaten in her face, her head pounded on the floor. It's highly unpleasant and very hard to watch. Every second of that scene hurts.
At one point, we see a man entering the scene, seeing the rape, quickly leaving the scene. That's director
Gaspar Noé and his very special kind of humor ;)

The camera swirls and whirls around, trippy, disorienting, almost sickening, all accompanied by the hypnotic beats and baffling synths by Thomas Bangalter (one half of Daft Punk). There's Chinese cab drivers and Spanish ladyboys, Bellucci and Cassel spitting in each other's faces, posters of Captain Marvel and Kubrick's "2001", and the fantastic Philippe Nahon ("I Stand Alone", "High Tension", "The Pack"), saying "Le temps détruit tout" = "Time destroys everything." - not only the very first sentence in the movie, but also the basic plot in a nutshell.
Oh, I forgot to mention the ending scene which could be described as a video-camera on an epic, cosmic trip, accompanied by the orgasmic
"Symphony No7" by Ludwig van Beethoven.


Good? Bad? Masterpiece? Rubbish? Who cares?
One thing is for sure: you can't un-see "Irréversible". It's impossible...
and irreversible.
Wiki ~ Imdb

Maynard is a  huge Fan of Morrissey, Bret Easton Ellis, Maynard James Keenan and Horror Movies. Make sure to check out his page Horror Movie Diary here.

No comments: