Irreversible

Irreversible ★★★½

Precariously chronicles a devastating crime, completely absorbed in its own violent frenzy of uncontrollable rage. Personally, I found the film far less graphic than most fans of Gaspar Noe claim, but it is indeed tediously unrelenting, choosing to continue scenes long after the barbarism is thought to be reaching an end. Irreversible's structure is dependent on this mechanic, and reversing the sequence of events doesn't alter the flow of searing intensity, arguably improving upon the dramatic output in some sense. The climax is extended across about half of the runtime, with both cut-off points being a brutal display of savagery. During that segment of shock-induced adrenaline, suspense is constant, equalizing the thirst for revenge and sexual torture. In linear order, the events transpiring would create stronger emotional distress, diminishing the rearranged domino effect from unjustifiable suffering to mere cause and effect. Noe's concept is successful, excluding the personal context in the closing act, which contributes almost nothing, as it's not revealed chronologically. He carefully establishes a string of horrible misfortune, then subsequently, we're amid a couple's giddy love life. A final addition to the confrontational trauma, unnecessarily layering a bit more pity. 

The spiraling camerawork is a thing of beauty, rotating in and out of all fourteen scenes, harboring a nauseating experience to slightly simulate the harrowing night. Pairing bright orange fill lighting with an irritating frequency of infrasound forms dizzying audiovisuals, a testament to the film's technical caliber. It's a statement from male perspectives, certainly not kind to female viewers, intentionally not shaking its oppressive languor. Alex, the victim, doesn't offer a moral angle we can presume, nor is Noe specifically interested in her character, beyond being the subject of two disturbing incidents shot in one take. He zones out settings or thematics conducive to the damage that trails behind an irreversible act and the need for retribution. Writhing in the throes of worthlessness, disgust, and despair, a ruthless nightmare.