I can’t type all my thoughts into this tiny window, in fact I don’t even know which ones to share.
I took notes as I watched it this time—I had a notepad window open just off screen so that I was typing but my view of the picture was unmarred.
My God, what an experience that film is. No other film has EVER come close to affecting me the way this one does. It’s even more profound now that I have children. Daughters. I fucking wept at one point. I stopped the film so I could go hold them. What fucking painting or novel can bring you to that state?
Of course in this go-round our conversation about Sexuality was front of mind, so I have a lot to say about that, but of the film in general I have to say it’s a masterpiece the likes of which I’m hard-pressed to equate.
Technically, it’s a masterwork. I swear I’ll punch anyone who calls this film ‘gimmicky’ square in the mouth. This film is as deliberate and focused a work of art as there is. Noe knew EXACTLY what he was doing, and pulled it off in the only way this story could have been told.
So time and having seen it twice has not dulled the experience—in fact my life since then has only made it more astounding.
2001 (I’d forgotten about the poster on the wall) is what I always called my favorite film—always because of where it took me intellectually. THIS film doesn’t just do that, but takes me there physically. I STILL have a knot in my stomach. This film reaches into you and pulls out your guts, but in a way that is utterly sublime; beautiful and terrible at once.
I feel like I could type for hours about it but I’m going to stop here and take a breath.
I’m elated and drained at once. What a movie.
I certainly don’t agree with those who consider Irreversible gimmicky. It is a sensitive and beautifully ugly film.
I do not like this film but because of what you wrote and the high opinion a few others on this forum have of it I will be re-watching it before writing any thoughts on it. I do have a question for you though, Josh. Do you think that your impressions of this film or any film would be different if you did not have children?
I too plan on rewatching this because of this thread.
Let me just chime in that my opinion is high too. We discussed quite a bit in the other thread.
In my opinion, the form is great precisely because it fulfils the message of “time destroys everything”.
“Do you think that your impressions of this film or any film would be different if you did not have children?”
I don’t have kids and I still think it’s one of the greatest films ever made. A film of a vast dichotomy… one of the darkest portraits of humanity, and at the same time one of the most loving.
Because this film has been discussed throughly elsewhere, I’ll only say that I’m in the gimmick camp. It’s a thumbs down for me.
It’s been years and all I remember is the darkness. When I re-watch it I will be looking for the love.
whats going on with these threads?
It’s apparently national film review day. But why all at the same time? So many of these are going to get lost in the shuffle.
Adolescent morality tale that offers up THREE sexual fantasies involving Monica Bellucci. Don’t do drugs and fool around on your girlfriend, fellas- she might get raped by a homosexual.
Yeah I really don’t understand whats going on with all these films popping up. This forum, while great, could really use some layers and organization to make things more accessible.
Gringo, There is no way you really think that’s the message of the film.
Let’s live for today. The moment of inspired critical discussion for a few hours is better than two months in a stagnant forum.
Mike: Having children is like any other experience that everything you perceive gets filtered through, so of course it changes things, but this is a film I would have enjoyed at any point in my life. I’m glad to have seen it, and I’m glad you’re going to revisit it.
I suppose the question seemed kind of silly and it wasn’t meant to suggest that you were biased. I was genuinely interested because of what you wrote about stopping the film so you could hold them. I don’t have children but i would suspect that if I did a lot of the more disturbing aspects of our world would worry me and affect me much more.
“Adolescent morality tale that offers up THREE sexual fantasies involving Monica Bellucci. Don’t do drugs and fool around on your girlfriend, fellas- she might get raped by a homosexual.”
“Gringo, There is no way you really think that’s the message of the film.”
It’s an extremely shallow reading of the film barely worth a response because it ignores so much.
I’ve still yet, in any discussion I’ve had on this film, to hear a clear reason why the film is ‘gimmicky.’ It uses the unusual narrative device (going backwards) as well as (better than) any film uses any narrative device. If this film is gimmicky than any film that tells any story in any sort of fractured fashion (Citizen Kane for example) is just as gimmicky, if not more so.
People might be more interested in offering a thorough opinion if they don’t think it will be lost to the void of time in 2 hours.
@Drew- Yes that’s what I really think about this monumentally stupid film. Bellucci is madonna, whore, and rape victim, but in irreversible order!
Gringo, I don’t think the film is offering fantasies at all. If anything, the sex scenes are all extremely ‘unsexy’ and I did not have a good night’s sleep after seeing the film.
Since film criticism isn’t an absolute science, you probably won’t hear any convincing arguments stating that the film is “gimmicky”. But, it certainly came off that way for me.
Dax: Obviously I agree with you. “Gimmicky”, as it relates to this film, is a flacid argument.
[punches Gringo in the mouth]
I recall thinking, especially during the opening scene in the apartment, that Noe was composing constantly as his camera glided over the men sitting there talking. The shorts you’d showed me (whose subjects were much more pleasing to look at) combined with this thought to solidify the technical genius of Irreversible.
@Law- Of course the sex scenes are unsexy because they happen after she’s been raped. Rape victims can’t be sexy. Now if Noe hadn’t irreversed the order, Monica could have done a fine job of turning us on.
If an argument is laid with a strong foundation it will be convincing despite my agreeing, or disagreeing with its content. (Rosenbaum is a good example here. Almost everything he writes is convincing despite whether I agree with it or not). The fact is there is not a solid argument for the narrative device being a gimmick in Irreversible.
I did not have a good night’s sleep after seeing the film
Ahhh humor. It never gets old.
If this film is gimmicky than any film that tells any story in any sort of fractured fashion (Citizen Kane for example) is just as gimmicky, if not more so.
The story is not fractured. It’s perfectly backwards. And the atrociously clumsy dialogue cues that Noe hangs in every scene like so many turds so that nobody can possibly be confused as to what’s going on is the height of amateurism.
“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
I’m a bit confused on a semantic point here. If an argument is convincing, doesn’t that imply that you are convinced by it, and therefore agree with it?
But that’s a little beside the point. Rosenbaum is a great example, and I’ll touch on him here. In a review of Taxi Driver in his book Essential Cinema he touches on Bernard Hermann’s score for the film, and offers a unique interpretation of it. While I didn’t find the argument convincing (in that I don’t agree with him at all), I did find it interesting, and it helped me to see the movie from a new perspective. But I’ve never viewed film criticism as something that needs to convince me or convert my opinions. Rather, I see it as an opportunity for new perspectives. Once in a while, a writer really turns me around on a particular movie, but that’s not what I’m really looking for.
I guess my ultimate point is that if you feel so strongly about a particular movie, it’s going to be very difficult for someone – anyone – to offer convincing reasons as to why it’s not that good. It would be like trying to convince Mike Spence that A Woman Under the Influence is a gimmicky film (which it’s not), or trying to convince me that Black Narcissus should only be read as a post-colonial text. You’ve probably thought about Irreversible way more than I have, and you’ve seen it more than me. It’s also a personal favorite of yours.