ash’s review published on Letterboxd:
Another film I didn't want to rate. After the rape I just sat and cried my eyes out for 5 minutes. I am exhuasted, I am drained, I feel violated. Literally, the only thing this film has going for it is its unique chronology and, for the most part, it is interestingly shot.
What really ruins this film for me is the aftermath of the rape, and how it is depicted through the eyes of not the now comatose victim (this feels like a cheap shot to get out of actually exploring the rape beyond it being just a plot device), but of her boyfriend and her best friend. Noe frames this story of sexual violence against a woman as a male story and I honestly am disgusted by it. All Noe and his characters care about is being called a 'fag' (there is a particular scene in which Pierre tells Marcus he didn't even have 'a quater of the energy' for Alex after she is raped, as he does defending himself against homophobic slurs). Alex declaring she is her own person does not work as foreshadowing; it just comes off as cruel. Alex is shown naked, repeatedly, her only value coming in the form of her naked body and when or how it can serve a man. Her best friend talks non stop about how they used to fuck, as if that was the only aspect of their relationship, the only one worth mentioning. Not once does Noe even attempt to understand how an event like this might impact on a woman, not even through backwards foreshadowing. It is simply a turning point in a man's story. This is WiR culture at its most toxic.
If you are genuinely impressed by this film and don't have a problem with the violence, please seek help. The argument could be made that I should rate this film higher because Noe got a legitimate, emotional response out of me and that is something good film is meant to do. I agree. But it shouldn't take a violent rape to do it.