Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Future is Now: The Good, The Bad, and The Irreversible

If ever there was a movie for which the phrase "Your reputation precedes you" has applied, Irreversible is it. Written and directed by Gaspar Noé and released back in the halcyon days of 2002 in complete defiance of all that was ever considered good and holy, Irreversible quickly established itself in the cinematic cannon among cinephiles of all varieties, amateur and professional alike, as a rite of passage. Especially in the circles in which I travelled, it was considered required viewing, on par with other emerging and cult classics like Memento and Donnie Darko, part of a dark ritual of initiation. For whatever reason, it was a rite that I had never performed until fifteen years after the fact, even delaying nearly a year after picking up a used copy of the DVD (in pristine condition) at a local shop that deals in such wares.

Well, it wasn't for whatever reason. Irreversible is known for two things even by people who have never seen it: the reverse chronological structure of the narrative and that scene. You know, the scene where Monica Bellucci is brutally raped. Yeah, that scene.

I'm usually not squeamish when it comes to all varieties of fucked up shit portrayed in cinema. But something about Irreversible curled itself around my brain and wouldn't let go. As is usually the case with these things, my mind took those small kernels, planted them in the fertile earth of my imagination, watered them with ambiguity, and watched the Legend grow.