Gaspar Noe offers you another sullen, nihilistic insightful approach to the human psyche yet again. If you are unfamiliar with Noe, he's also responsible for 1998's Seul contre tous - which I had the opportunity of reviewing some time ago. Irreversible stars Vincent Cassel (Oceans 12 & 13, and Le pacte des loups from 2001) and Monica Bellucci (Le pacte des loups and 1992's Dracula).
The story is not told in chronological order - Marcus (Cassel) and his friend Pierre are seeking vengeance due to the rape of Marcus's girlfriend, Alex (Bellucci). The plot contains scattered subtleties, demonstrations on human behavior, and of course...sexual brutality. Bellucci's character is involved in a rather lengthy rape scene that have turned many patrons of horror away in disgust - and undoubtedly, it is a difficult thing to watch. Much like Noe's previous endeavor, Seul contre tous, we're left to our own emotional devices after the film's conclusion. He manages to address a myriad of feelings and senses by showcasing controversial and ghastly imagery; possibly with the intention of forcing you through a hellacious journey into the dark recesses of the mind. Perhaps Noe's vision is lost on me...but what I've gathered is that he manges to incite feelings of uncertainty within each viewer.
In my opinion, films like Irreversible don't have a definitive meaning. It's up to each individual to decipher the events that unfold. Noe seems to enjoy exploring an alternative approach to film-making...it's just unfortunate that his efforts are bogged down by lengthy dialog and irrelevant plot details. I don't consider this a good film in and of itself...I only appreciate Noe's ability to think outside of the box, even if it's at the expense of controversy. Seul contre tous seemed more like a social commentary based on the times we live in - even after a decade, society has changed very little. I put Irreversible on the same unfamiliar platform - two films that incite feelings of wonder well- after the closing chapter...perhaps that was Noe's vision after all.