Events over the course of one traumatic night in Paris unfold in reverse-chronological order as the beautiful Alex is brutally raped and beaten by a stranger in the underpass. Her boyfriend and ex-lover take matters into their own hands by hiring two criminals to help them find the rapist so that they can exact revenge. A simultaneously beautiful and terrible examination of the destructive nature of cause and effect, and how time destroys everything.
|Release Date||:||May 22, 2002|
|Genres||:||Drama, Thriller, Crime, Mystery|
|Production Company||:||Eskwad, StudioCanal, Wild Bunch, Les Cinémas de la Zone, Nord-Ouest Productions, Canal+, 120 Films|
|Casts||:||Monica Bellucci, Vincent Cassel, Albert Dupontel, Jo Prestia, Philippe Nahon, Stéphane Drouot, Jean-Louis Costes, Mourad Khima, Michel Gondoin , Hellal, Nato, Fesche|
|Plot Keywords||:||paris, prostitute, rape, sex, nudity, trauma, knife, assault, police, love, revenge, unsimulated sex, cruelty, brutality, violence, drug, dark, evil, boyfriend, rape and revenge, underpass, new french extremism|
This film is ugly, brutal, depressing, visceral, and hopeless. The first time I saw it, I was devastated. I reeled for days afterwards. But seeing it a 2nd time, I didn't care for it as much, in fact, I feel I've been had. Its impact is really felt the first time you see it, because seeing it the 2nd time, you realise a lot of things about it that aren't particularly good. Most of the dialogue is poor (most of it was improvised, and not very well), the violence of the film is purposely over the top, and Noe the director seems to delight in showing nasty stuff without really bringing a sense of art to it. He enjoys rubbing your face in the sleazy, horrific violence, but has no purpose other than saying "life is brutal". I can't deny that the film did have a great impact upon first viewing, but too often when one's sense are assaulted (like they are here), you can mistake that for great, artistic film-making.
Technically, the film is astounding. It was shot mostly in long takes, but edited together with CGI effects (the smashing of the head in the gay bar at the beginning was done digitally, as part of the rape scene). It's definitely a curiosity, but realise what you're getting into. It's really not for the squeamish. The opening scene in the gay bar is dizzying and brutal, and the rape scene is beyond brutal. Noe films the rape scene in one take, which makes it even more difficult to watch. Is the film art? No, it isn't. Simply because the film polarized audiences doesn't make it art (a common assumption by people). Noe's films (he's only complete 2 features) aren't really deep or anything, just pessimistic and brutal.
A telling episode about Noe happened a year or so ago. The IFC Theater in NYC has a feature they do occasionally. They bring in a filmmaker to introduce a film they admire. Noe showed his first film, I Stand Alone, and Pasolini's Salo. After Noe's film concluded, he talked to the audience on why he wanted to show Salo. All he talked about was the coprophilia scenes (aka the s**t eating scenes). He didn't talk about anything else that Salo had to offer (in terms of its message on fascism, sexual perversion, the cinematography, the production design). Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom is actually an excellent film. It's incredibly depressing and brutal, but has a real sense of art and is a genuinely controversial film, even to this day. Noe's films (he's made only 2) are not like this at all. Both I Stand Alone and Irreversible hit you in the face the first time you see them, but you shake it off, and Noe has nothing more to give you. This film has no resonance at all. It's just for shock value.