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617 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Monica Bellucci, Vincent Cassel, Albert Dupontel. A harrowing tale of one fateful night in the life of an average couple, told through inventive camera techniques and imaginative storytelling in reverse chronological order. 2003/color/97 min/UR/widescreen.

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

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Monica Bellucci, Vincent Cassel, Albert Dupontel, Jo Prestia, Philippe Nahon
  • Directors: Gaspar Noé
  • Writers: Gaspar Noé
  • Producers: Vincent Cassel, Gaspar Noé, Brahim Chioua, Christophe Rossignon, Emmanuel Gateau
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: August 5, 2003
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (617 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00009W0U4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,444 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Irreversible" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

345 of 380 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Leach HALL OF FAME on May 20, 2004
Format: DVD
After witnessing the nightmare of Gaspar Noe's "I Stand Alone," a movie that left me in open-mouthed awe for days afterwards, I just knew I had to see "Irreversible." I am not a big foreign film aficionado, not by a long shot, but Noe's films are worth watching simply because they are deeply disturbing jaunts into the darkest recesses of the human psyche. He's not above showing life as it really is, and he does it in ways that make you laugh at the cleverness of the presentation even as you cringe in disgust at the subject matter. In other words, his pictures are right up my alley. I always love to watch cinema that challenges the viewer on some level, something rare indeed in an age of the American special effects laden summer blockbusters. That doesn't necessarily mean I always like these types of films; oftentimes I don't when the fine line between challenging and pretentiousness is crossed, but Noe's stuff is great because it is premium grade weirdness. "Irreversible" will remind many viewers of the American film "Memento," except Noe's film is darker, oh so much darker, than that movie.
"Irreversible" flows backwards, with the closing credits opening the film and each scene shown from the end towards the beginning. Right from the start, you know you're going to see something different. Boy, are you ever! A sex club with fleeting sounds and images of pornographic behaviors, a sickening scene of a human head being bashed in with a fire extinguisher, and an arrest quickly start you wondering about what it all means. As the film progresses (regresses?), we learn why one man killed another in that seedy bar. Alex (Monica Bellucci), a rather carefree soul, was brutally raped and beaten by a thuggish French pimp in a subway tunnel.
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333 of 368 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 27, 2003
Gasper Noe's feature film "Irrersible" is destined to be a topic of hot debate when it was shown in Canne Film Festival. It is reported that during the rape scene that lasts almost 10 minutes, many viewers left the theatre. And there are people who defend it, and people who attack it, as is often the case with this kind of unusual films. However, instead of joining the debate, I would like to tell what I saw on screen as I remember, even though I was curiously attracted to the ultra-violent story of revenge.
The story, which director Noe thought of very casually, is very simple in itself. Beautiful Alex (Monica Bellucci, real-life wife to Vincent Cassel) is a fiancee of fun-loving Marcus (Vincent Cassel), but one night after a party Alex is raped by a man and moreover her face is heavily smashed by the guy to make her unconscious. Knowing that, Marcus hurries to the culprit with his friend Pierre to a bar for the most violent kind of revenge in the movie history.
Now I warn you. The rape/revenge scenes are both so intense and realistic that some of you might get sick during the course even though you happen to know that Noe used CGIs to enhance the effect of violence. But to be fair, these scenes are, I thought, overlong but nothing gratuitous. Still, it looks as if the director wallows in making us feel uncomfortable, and I admire, without any sarcasm, his skiils so good at that.
Another unusual aspect of the film is that the story goes chronologically backward. Noe insists on this idea so much that what you see first on screen is "the end credit" which rolls up (and see many names of cast, which are printed the wrong way). And you will first see the result of revenge, then revenge itself, and then the cause of the revenge ... and so on.
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68 of 76 people found the following review helpful By A. Sandoc on August 3, 2004
Format: DVD
Gaspar Noe's Irreversible is filmed in the same style as Christopher Nolan's excellent Memento. With the story unfolding in reverse sequence, the audience's first impression of the story doesn't end up being the same once it finishes.

Everyone has made it a point to mention the disturbing and hard-to-watch sodomizing that Monica Bellucci's character goes through at the hands of a random, strung-out stranger. This 10-minute sequence is as disturbing as any film sequence I have ever had the chance to watch. There is absolutely no feeling of lust or sexiness this scene brings up. A sense of shock, disgust and pain is more appropriate reaction to seeing the lovely Ms. Bellucci's character go through a very inhumane experience. This scene goes a long way to explaining the film's beginning where a brutal and equally inhumane murder takes place inside a murky, red-lit, underground gay S&M club.

As the film continues to move backwards in time and shows the viewer the earlier and happier time of Bellucci's and Vincent Cassel's characters, the earlier scenes of violence take on a more poignant and sad note. In a space of a day many lives are broken and destroyed, and in the end all because of a random night occurrence in an dingy, lit underpass.

Gaspar Noe's film is not for everyone and even those daring enough to take a chance to view it will have a hard time sitting through the first half of the film. The film itself takes on a dream-like quality as it begins to unfold. From its nightmarish tone and look to a dreamy last reel. I have heard people call Noe's film as exploitive and misogynistic in its treatment of its main female character.
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