Irreversible: Straight Cut Movie Review: Still Remains an Exhaustive, Challenging Experience

Director Gaspar Noe is one of the true cinematic enfant terribles. People love him or hate him, but there’s also a genuine respect for his nihilistic approach to a different type of filmmaking. He made some shorts and a debut feature, I Stand Alone (1998), prior, but it was his 2002 sensation Irreversible that made a lot of people stand up and take notice while also making many of them angry and straight up nauseated.

The original cut of the notorious classic was told in reverse order, sending audiences into a tailspin of both awe and revulsion, especially to the deliberate puzzlement of it all. When I saw it, I thought it was like nothing I’ve seen before. However, watching the new “straight cut,” I realize now that the original reversion feels more like an experimental gimmick. I still love it though.

This new version feels more straightforward, but in a good way. The plot of Marcus (Vincent Cassel) and Pierre’s (Albert Dupontel) sadistic revenge for the brutal and unforgiving rape and assault of Alex (Monica Belucci), the woman they both love, is more concrete and understandable. Despite their mutual bloodlust and descent into madness, you feel sympathy for them. Marcus instantly goes off the deep end while Pierre tries to talk him out of it. But when Marcus himself almost gets raped in a gay club, Pierre loses his humanity as well and savagely kills the rapist. In this case, the moral compass gets shattered and the animalism takes its place. In the end, no one wins.

Choosing between both versions, I’ll go with the straight cut. It is easy to get into (depending on one’s taste). But for artistry and abstraction, I still love the original as well.

I have to point out the more problematic aspects. Belucci’s rape scene is about nine minutes long (without cuts), and during the revenge sequences, there are racist, transphobic, and homophobic slurs throughout, so watch with extreme discretion.

Whatever version appeals to you more, the same brutality and impact is still there. Noe’s best film still remains an exhaustive and challenging experience. One that’s highly impossible to forget.

Opening theatrically February 10th at the IFC Center/NYC and the Landmark’s Nuart/LA

U.S. Theatrical Dates:

2/10 – 2/16 – IFC Center (New York, NY)***

2/10 – 2/16 – Landmark’s Nuart Theatre (Los Angeles, CA)

2/14 – PhilaMOCA (Philadelphia, PA)

2/14 – Popcorn Frights (Fort Lauderdale, FL)

2/17 – 2/23 Sie Film Center (Denver, CO)***

2/24 – 3/2 Alamo Drafthouse Mission (San Francisco, CA)***

2/24 – 3/2 Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar (Austin, TX)

2/24 – 3/2 Alamo Drafthouse Wrigleyville (Chicago, IL)

2/24 – 3/2 Alamo Drafthouse DTLA (Los Angeles, CA)

2/24 – 3/2 Alamo Drafthouse Manhattan (New York, NY)

2/24 – Alamo Drafthouse (Raleigh, NC)

2/24 – 2/28 – The Frida Cinema (Santa Ana, CA)

2/24 – 3/2 Central Cinema (Knoxville, TN)

3/10 – Cleveland Cinematheque (Cleveland, OH)

***35mm Print of the Original Cut on Select Dates

More Cities To Be Announced Soon

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