We all love cinema for various reasons. Cinema, to me, should possess the power to affect you, and change the way you look at the most mundane of things and scenes in your life.
A good film may not necessarily be “liked” or praises unanimously because “liking” a certain piece of art is never really the point. The point is to trigger a conversation, to raise questions, to provoke you, and that, to me, is the hallmark of a great artist. Subjects that are bizarre and provocative have always intrigued me, and this is what got me into the cinematic worlds of Michael Haneke, Gaspar Noe, Lars Von Trier and Yorgos Lanthimos – the four modern pillars of Euro provocation. Gaspar Noe’s ‘Irreversible’ is a film that ripped me into shreds; one that forever changed the way I see the world; the way I look at people across the street, the subways, the roads, the noise, the vehicles. I can easily that ‘Irreversible’ is perhaps the closest a film can ever get to changing me.
However, to this day, it still remains one of the most controversial, divisive films ever made, with a number of critics dismissing it as torture porn. While it certainly isn’t the most subtle piece when it comes to violence and gore, it’s a film that makes smart use of its nauseating visuals and music. Any film that manages to get across a statement or an idea deserves to be seen. With all that said now, let’s break down certain aspects of the film:
The Concept of Spoiler
I’ve often debated the significance of the concept of “spoilers” in cinema. If a certain plot-point “spoils” a film for you, then there’s something wrong with the movie itself. A good piece of cinema can never be tied down to a mere twist in the story. There are several aspects that go into the making of a film: the aesthetics, style, vision, philosophy, and so on and so forth. These are elements that essentially elevate the experiential qualities of a film. ‘Irreversible’ is a classic example of a film toying with the idea of spoiler. It has a story that, on paper, seems like a run-of-the-mill rape revenge thriller. The story is pretty straightforward – a man sets out to seek revenge on the guy who raped his girlfriend. If one asked me to brief the story of the film, I possibly couldn’t, without giving away the spoiler. And frankly speaking, it doesn’t really matter. Should knowing the fact that Bellucci’s character will be raped and that her boyfriend will murder the wrong guy affect your experience of the film? It shouldn’t, and if it did, you’ve clearly failed to grasp the thematic depths of the film. This is not a film about its story, it’s a film about what its story tells you.
Violence and the Futility of Revenge