IRREVERSIBLE may be the worst movie ever made. As an alleged “art-house movie,” it takes pornographic sex and violence to new levels of depravity. Furthermore, it has a thoroughly nihilistic humanist worldview contending that man is an animal and that time destroys all things. Finally, the camerawork and sound effects are obnoxious and annoying as well as disturbing.
The story in IRREVERSIBLE plays backwards. After a short prologue, the peripatetic camerawork takes viewers into a homosexual, sadomasochistic nightclub in France where two men, Marcus and Pierre, are searching for a pervert called “The Tapeworm.” Marcus is uncontrollably angry because the pervert has done something bad to their friend Alex, who turns out to be Marcus’s beautiful girlfriend. During their search, a man confronts Marcus and breaks his arm. The mild-mannered Pierre then proceeds to crush the man’s skull with repeated blows from a fire extinguisher. The movie then shows how Pierre and Marcus traced “The Tapeworm” to the club and shows, in graphic detail, how Alex was brutally raped, sodomized and beaten when she left the cocaine-enfeebled Marcus at a wild party which they and Pierre were attending.
Eventually, the movie goes back to Marcus and Alex lying and walking in the nude around their apartment. Alex tells Marcus that she might be pregnant, and Marcus goes out to buy some booze for the party. After he leaves, Alex takes a quick pregnancy test and happily discovers that she is indeed pregnant. The movie ends with a shot of Alex reading in a park surrounded by children playing. The camera casts its eye toward the sky, whereupon an annoying strobe effect starts pummeling the screen. After a bit of this artsy pretentiousness, the movie mercifully ends by repeating a comment from the prologue, that “time destroys all things.”
Gaspar Noè, the creator behind this atrocious mess, not only takes the post-modern fascination with sex and violence to new lows, he also takes secular humanism to its most logical conclusion – complete and utter nihilism. If time destroys all things, then everything is meaningless, including Truth, Goodness, Justice, Beauty, Love, Faith, and Hope.
In addition to its trite nihilism, IRREVERSIBLE strongly suggests that man is just an animal. Although the movie does not mention the humanist philosophy of naturalistic evolution, this sentiment is exactly what evolution theories teach. In a sense, therefore, this despicable movie, and the pretentious, abhorrent aesthetic from which it springs, are also the direct result of the evolution theories that have infected the minds of so many people in contemporary society. Like this movie, those theories are intellectually, morally and spiritually bankrupt.
Word has it that the late Stanley Kubrick wanted to make a film as pornographic as this, and IRREVERSIBLE pays homage to Kubrick by including a poser of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY and music from BARRY LYNDON. Kubrick did indeed make several despicable movies during his long career, including A CLOCKWORK ORANGE and EYES WIDE SHUT. The director of IRREVERSIBLE, however, displays none of the intelligent, delicate artistic sensibilities and witticisms that even those two films sometimes demonstrated. He spices his disgusting story with inane, dizzying camera moves, annoying, sickening sounds and boring long takes that range from in-your-face to sheer monotony, and sometimes both. Amazingly, a few critics have praised IRREVERSIBLE for its apocalyptic poetry, to paraphrase one of them. It’s hard to figure out whether such critics are being serious or just purposely contentious. On second thought, perhaps they’ve just been smoking something that’s rotting their brains.
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Tom Ortenberg, President
Lions Gate Films
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(HHH, HoHo, AcapAcap, LLL, VVVV, SSSS, NNN, AA, DD, MMM) Very strong humanist, nihilistic worldview with sickening levels of sadomasochism and strong homosexual references and rapist verbally demeans victim for being rich and beautiful, when she's clearly only middle class; at least 115 mostly strong obscenities, one strong profanity, epithets, a father talks about sleeping with his daughter, and frank talk about sex in a comic manner; extremely graphic violence includes man uses fire extinguisher to crush another man's skull with repeated blows, extended rape scene with sodomy, rapist beats victim's face to a bloody mess, rape victim's boyfriend has several scuffles with other people as he angrily searches for her rapist, and implied sadomasochism (with screams and moans) from homosexual nightclub's dungeon-like sex rooms; several shots of total male nudity and upper and rear female nudity; alcohol use and drunkenness; smoking and cocaine snorting; and, revenge, jealousy, uncontrollable anger, racism, vandalism, and man steals taxi.