IRREVERSIBLE

5 February 2004

[Picture of Video cover of Irreversible]Irreversible is a French film with two prolonged scenes of physical violence (but no explosions or guns), it is a film about ethics — justification, retaliation, revenge, reacting to events.

If the story was told in the normal direction or timeline, it would not be the same nor would it be as effective; it is constantly asking YOU ‘what would you do if…’ and it makes you see a single event in different ways. Therefore, it is more about what YOU — the viewer — bring to the film than the simple enough story.

It is more about what YOU bring to witnessing an event than the event itself.

For example, you see the homosexual club and the violence — and you may think it is about homophobia. Later on you find out that they are acting in retaliation for a sexual assault, and that they were affected by strong drink and drugs — and powerful emotions (they couple had just argued, there was sexual tension in that one man was the boyfriend and the other was a visiting ex-boyfriend).

As the each piece of information is revealed — in reverse order, your views on what you have just seen have to alter.

You change your mind about the attack on the homosexual, you change your mind about the ex-boyfriend’s emotional involvement, and so on.

The film works on many levels too — it is called IRREVERSIBLE (despite being played in reverse). the reason it is not called REVERSIBLE is that each new piece of information switches the characters’ lives down a route – each of which is irreversible, life-changing, undo-able… and important.

The script seems as erratic as the camera movement at the beginning (to suit the panic and giddiness of the end-game), but as the film progresses, everything becomes steadier – throughout, though, every single word is carefully considered… even seemingly meaningless asides take on importance when the earlier scene is shown.

Basically, you are challenged to rethink the events shown – as you go, time and again. You may feel disgusted at the two main violent scenes, but you are forced to re-appraise these scenes continually, (they are of fundamental importance to the story which is why they are so prolonged) so what you felt at the time of first viewing is not what you feel at the end of the film – something which would have been impossible to do if the film was not played in the reverse-style format.

It is not for everyone, but it is actually worth watching this gruesome film as it really challenges you where you need challenged. Having said that, I FFWD’d through the violence (I don’t need to dwell to get the impact). People can be so ugly.  This film’s approach is refreshingly meaningful! Undo unto others…

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