"Irreversible" by Yojimbo
Yojimbo - wrote on 02/02/12
A young woman is brutally raped in a subway tunnel provoking huge discussions between beret wearing chin strokers as to whether or not it's art. This film is most definitely well acted, particularly I'd have to say by Monica Belucci who I never really considered a great actress before, but she is totally believable which is why the ordeal she endures is even more difficult to stomach. The rape scene is truly horrific; I genuinely believe that sensationalism was not the aim, and its brutal realism is almost unbearable. But what of the rest of the film? The story is told in reverse, but I couldn't really see the reason why beyond disguising the minimality of the plot. Were we supposed to be MORE horrified by what we'd seen after we'd gotten to know some personal details about the victim? That makes little sense in the context of a film where realism rather than manipulation is supposed to be the key to the reaction to what we are seeing. I do believe that there was a point to making this film beyond commercial shock value, but whatever the message was, it is lost in a morbid sea of erratic camera movements and sexual violence. I could just as easily dismiss any attempts at intellectualizing it and just describe it as Cloverfield with rape instead of a monster. When I was at art college, a fellow student decided to illustrate the horror of rape, and how he chose to do it was draw, well, a rape. We thought it was a powerful and challenging piece of work at the time, but now I look back I see it was rather naive and immature to the point where it could be construed as another form of dumbing down; as if witnessing the act itself is the only way a viewer could understand that "rape is bad". This film reminded me of that illustration. It is easy to illicit a gut reaction; the job of art is to provoke thought. In that, this film fails. The sensation is rather more like having your nose rubbed in somebody else's filth.