Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Sunday, August 25, 2013


I have a sincere appreciation for the German and Japanese languages and often watch shows or movies or listen to music from those countries, but I can honestly say that I don't venture beyond those two cultures very much to get my "foreign fix." Yeah, I watched a couple of Sergio Leone films (who hasn't?), but those were filmed silent and then dubbed over in English. Plus they had a few American actors sprinkled in. I typically view foreign films as films that are products from other countries and contain a cast and crew made up of the citizens of that same country. That's why I don't view Letters from Iwo Jima or The Passion of the Christ as "foreign films" even though they are certainly "foreign language films."

Irreversible is a genuine foreign film, though. It was filmed in France and the actors were French and there was not a word of English spoken throughout the film. Well, unless you count the word "rectum."

The very weird thing about this movie (or maybe the weird thing about me) is that I did not want to watch it at all. When I saw the title on Netflix, I thought "I wonder what moron is going to willingly watch this movie." Then I thought, "Well, I haven't seen it and I'm not doing anything else at the moment." So I guess that makes me a moron. Very much so, in fact.

While I have seen Jack Ketchum's The Girl Next Door as well as the original versions of I Spit On Your Grave and The Last House on the Left, I can honestly say that the whole hardcore rape horror movies are something I typically avoid. They aren't entertaining and they take a serious effort to watch even if they are made extremely well and by talented people.

While I certainly wouldn't classify Irreversible as a horror film, I certainly would describe two of the scenes in the movie as difficult to watch. One of them you probably already know about.

We open up at the end of the story and gradually move back through time. This isn't quite pulled off with with the same mastery of Chris Nolan's Memento, but it is still fairly effective to a point. Until the ending.

Two guys named Marcus (Vincent Cassel) and Pierre (Albert Dupontel) are at a gay club called The Rectum and they are looking for a guy who calls himself The Tapeworm. Marcus is very pissed about something while Pierre is trying to calm him down and keep him from doing stupid shit. It doesn't work out so well. A guy who might or might not be The Tapeworm whips Marcus's ass and almost rapes him before he gets owned by Pierre. The guy who might or might not be The Tapeworm gets his face crushed to a pulp by Pierre during a fight.

The opening scene in the gay club is definitely a stifling one and kind of annoying as hell. The camera is shaking and being whipped around in circles and it is tough to see what the fuck is going on. I can understand the effect because it does put you on edge, but it also just looks sloppy. Maybe it is purposely sloppy, but I still don't like sloppy. Since this is a foreign film we do get an abundance of male frontal nudity that we typically don't see in American movies. This almost put me off watching because I was getting grossed out. I really should have stopped watching it right there, though. Again, I'm a moron.

From this point on we work our way back in time. Marcus and Pierre are searching for The Tapeworm because he is the one who raped their good friend Alex (Monica Bellucci). Alex is Pierre's ex-girlfriend as well as Marcus's current girlfriend. 

The rapist turns out not to be the one that Pierre had killed but rather the one who had been standing right beside him at the club. Oh, the cruel irony. The baddie gets away scot-free at the start of the movie and you don't even know it until you actually witness the rape scene firsthand.

The rape scene... Completely agonizing. All the more reason that you should not watch this movie because the camera doesn't turn away at all. You see it. The angle is relatively subtle until the dude pulls out and you see some digitally added male schlongage, but you definitely get the full effect without that addition. You see him rape Alex and then you see him beat the shit out of her. Again, there's no "camera moves away while we hear sounds of struggling stuff." How long does it last? Ten minutes? Something like that. It is agonizingly long. I totally would not blame anybody for not making it through.

After that scene the rest of the movie is fairly pointless. I'm pretty numb and there's just no topping that one scene. The rest of the movie (the beginning of the story) is calm and sweet and we soon learn that Alex is actually pregnant with Marcus's child and she is happy and reading a book in the park and the movie ends.

Honestly, I did not take much from this movie. Yeah, I know the message it was trying to convey, but it just tried too hard to shock and the last part of the movie feels largely anti-climatic (pardon the pun). The revelation that Alex is pregnant certainly makes the rape scene that much more horrifying in retrospect, but at that point in the movie I was just too numb to think about things like that. The final 20 minutes of the film is a trial of patience because it is just Marcus, Alex, and Pierre having a good time being pals and not much else. Again, I know this is the beginning on the story and all that and I know how it signifies how peaceful things were before the shit hit the fan, but it just isn't interesting. And I was on autopilot anyway so if anything else had happened it wouldn't have mattered much to me anyway. I kept thinking, "Holy shit, that rape scene was fucked up and I'll need some therapy" for the rest of the movie. The film might as well have not had an ending. 

Since I don't know jack about the French language, it took me a bit to figure out who the hell was talking at times. The screwed up and often frantic camera angles didn't help any during a few of the scenes. It was an adjustment and I made it after about half an hour, but I really do wish that this had not been my first French movie.

Taking it all as a whole I guess you could call this a decent movie. Maybe. If, like me, you are a complete moron then go ahead and give this movie a try. It's not exactly one for date night, though. Just some FYI. 


  1. A gay club called "The Rectum?" Not too subtle, is it? XD

    I think I'll skip this one but I enjoy watching foreign flicks. You really get a feel for cultural differences between countries by watching their movies.

    Here's a good foreign flick I just saw (you don't need subtitles for)
    "Noise" (Australian film). Netflix streaming

    Speaking of streaming (sorry, this has nothing to do with the topic of the post), check out a flick called "Boy Wonder" on streaming. It was one of "my never heard of it" discoveries that is really good.

    1. The good thing about Blog House is that you can't really go off topic if the information is interesting. :) Just added Boy Wonder to my queue. And Noise.