Jimmy Weasel - Wednesday, 21 April 2004
The hype would have you believe that this film is porn. That it should have been banned. That it should never have been made and its director should have been put in the stocks and rotting vegetation flung at his reeking head for creating such a piece.
But it's not so.
My only beef with Mr Director is that there is no warning about not seeing the film while savagely hungover. The camera work matches the mood—frantic scenes will have the camera jerking about and spinning and there is little clarity. Also, there's plenty of spinning at the end. Plus about 45 seconds of strobing that I can't really account for. Unless it's just to annoy all the epileptics out there. It settles down as the story progresses only to get really wiggy right at the end (like I just said).
Ebert said that is wasn't porn, and I agree. But I don't agree with him dissecting the film in the opposite way it was played out. It's Irreversible for a reason. Like Memento, only more baffle for your viewing dollar. I guess it's like a really good episode of Columbo; you know who did what, but the rest of the film is spent finding out why and how they got from A to B, and trying to stop yourself from being sick. I've never had to cover my ears in a film before. A lot of people walked out on this film in Cannes. Two walked out of this particular session—such a survey showing that about 30% of people believe it sucked. Or maybe they were in the wrong place to begin with.
There is no adequate preparation to be able to watch a man have his face turned into paste with a fire extinguisher. Nor the highly publicised "rape scene lasting several minutes." Which, if you're able to watch, does have someone walk by in the background, stare, and shrink back into the night. It all adds to the brutality and disturbing nature of the film. But the film doesn't seem to be about the rape itself so much as a study of guilt and revenge upon the grief stricken mind.
And no other reviews I've skimmed seem to mention the pregnancy. This makes me think she wasn't pregnant, or that nobody stayed for those final scenes.
As a direct result of not being able to watch all of the above mentioned paste-making, I was mistaken as to who was dishing out the beating, and who was receiving. Which is why the Internet, and eventually Ebert, were eventually consulted. I'd thought it was a counter-beatdown upon the revenge seeker—a savage turning of tables allowed to happen by his companion who felt him responsible (directly or otherwise) for the turn of events that evening. But I was wrong. Keep a close eye on the opening ambulance scene (it's not unwatchable at that point (apart from the creepy intro from the creepy and mostly naked fat guy)) and remember what all the characters look like.
I'm going to take Ebert's word, as I don't think I can sit through it ever again.