Irreversible

Irreversible

To those unfamiliar with the controversy of Gaspar Noé's Irreversible, there is an early scene of a woman being brutally raped in an underpass. It is a nine-minute static shot. Why did Noé choose to film such a thing? Apparently because "time destroys everything." In other words, what transpires is irreversible. So what're we talking here, irreversible thermodynamic processes? Is Noé alluding to the second law that isolated systems spontaneously evolve toward states of maximum entropy (in turn alluding to a socially chaotic world)? 'Cause, sure, that's true, but why rape? And why the film itself? Noé's sending mixed messages: One, some people are destined to be raped because we live in a meaningless universe, and two, this film is meaningful. While to an extent the first point is valid (in that from our perspective time is an immutable, inescapable course), the second hardly qualifies.

Irreversible is gilded nihilist propaganda (the existence of which makes little sense). The "profound" twist ending—set to the second movement of Beethoven's 7th—is disgustingly smug. I don't consider the film exploitative, but I'll only remember it for having the longest, most graphic depiction of rape I've ever seen, a depiction that carries no weight.

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