After seeing the first twenty minutes some years back, I’ve been too afraid to watch Irreversible in full. The film is notorious, pernicious, harrowing and vile, yet completely compelling.
Deeming it unnecessary to write about the brutal plot in detail, it’s safe to say that it is definitely not for the faint hearted or weak stomached. Unlike the torturous Human Centipede-schtick, Irreversible is extreme on a wholly tactile, fathomable level. If anything can be said of the structure, the reverse chronology is very effective; opening the film with unspeakable horror and closing with an ironic and perturbed sense of tranquility and hope.
Without imploding my film-studies brain box, Irreversible questions the very nature and spectacle of cinema itself; why do we find certain things more compelling and arresting than others? Who sets the moral code of acceptability? Moreover, what psychological impact can such boundary pushing texts have?
By no means a perfect film, Irreversible unmistakably opened up a new niche for Euro-extremism; changing the face of cinema into a more provocative and boundless mass medium.
In short, not a great date movie.