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Irreversible (2002)
Revenge is a dish best served backwards
6 May 2010
Hard to know what to say about this film because it's artful cinematic devices mean you will not find a standard set of plots, motivations and morals in there. As one of the bedroom philosophers at the start of the film says: there are no bad actions, only actions - and the film sets out to make you understand this point of view by offering the otherwise standard revenge plot line with the use of low frequency sound, disturbed camera movements and reversed time.

It is the careful re-ordering of time in the film that makes for a fragmented, intense and drug like experience which forces the viewer to witness it's acts without conventional story patterns to help you form a justification. Unlike a more Hollywood offering such as memento there is no comforting resolution or standardised meaning and it leaves it's otherwise pornographic centrepiece laid bare in a truly stark fashion that forces you to confront your own innermost feelings on the subject with only knowledge of the aftermath and not a tranquil beginning. This has a profound effect on the material that is worth some meditation if you can stomach it.

A true masterpiece, but not in a pleasant way. Worth watching if you like to see human experience from a different angle, but definitely not for those with a weak stomach or who are looking for a self indulgent film experience. The actions are laid bare for what they are, the violence of murder and a horrific rape scene do not come pre-processed but feel real as they would to a passer by and are filmed in unrelenting fixed shots. The construction is good enough that it doesn't just decay into confusion. It is extremely intense and will likely incite feelings of hatred and hopelessness in equal measure. You probably won't enjoy it, but you may well admire it. I certainly did.
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