Irreversible (2002)

Year: 2002
Directed by: Gaspar Noe
Starring: Monica Bellucci (Alex), Vincent Cassel (Marcus), Albert Dupontel (Pierre), Jo Prestia (Tenia), Philippe Nahon (The Butcher), Gaspar Noe (Guy jerking off at The Rectum)
Country: France, European Cinema
Language: French (English subs)
Runtime: 01:33:28
Genres: Rape-Sexual-Violence against Women, Revenge, Violence against Men, Gay, Racism

Plot – Spoilers:
Irreversible is one of the most controversial rape movies ever made due to its almost 10-minute-long single shot rape scene. It’s also a tale of revenge told in reverse – we start at the end (including credits) and move through segments narrated in reverse chronological order.

Alex is a young woman in a fairly happy relationship with Marcus. They’re headed out to a party with Alex’s ex, Pierre, tagging along. Pierre is a cerebral kind of dick who hasn’t gotten over Alex and is obsessed with his inability to get her to cum when they were together. Marcus is indulgent to Pierre but a bit of a fool especially when the drugs take over. Sitting between these two is Alex, who is a regular, kindly and social woman on the threshold of motherhood.

After Marcus and Pierre ruin her mood at a party, Alex decides to head home alone and takes a lonely underpass where she is anally raped and beaten brutally by a gay pimp. Marcus who is already high, goes hysterical and rabidly heads out looking for revenge, lugging a reluctant Pierre along.

The choice to narrate Irreversible in reverse was partly to help secure funding following the success of Memento. But it’s also an interesting option. If you started with Alex learning of her pregnancy and moved to her rape and the subsequent revenge (even though they got the wrong guy 🙂 ), it’s something we are used to – things getting fucked up. But doing it in reverse makes you unravel and understand better the person that has just been brutalized.

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