Sight and Sound - 03/01/2003
"...A seductive and powerful film..."
Rolling Stone - 03/14/2003
"...Noe's considerable accomplishment is to examine the relationship between life and art, time and memory. IRREVERSIBLE means to knock you for a loop. It does..."
Entertainment Weekly - 03/14/2003
"...An amazing, and profoundly disturbing, experience....[Noe is] a new kind of film wizard: a poet of apocalyptic shock..."
Premiere - 04/01/2003
"...This confrontationalist is a moviemaker worth confronting..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 03/23/2003
"...Moral at a structural level..."
Total Film - 07/01/2003
"...Taken as an exploitation flick -- Noe's preference -- this is 100 effective, guaranteed to shock and pummel..."
After what would normally be the end credits (which run backwards), IRREVERSIBLE begins with a heated hunt through a gay S&M club. It is a chaotic sequence shot from a wildly spiraling camera seamlessly edited together to appear as one single shot and culminating in one of the most violent murders ever portrayed on celluloid. Following this crescendo, Gaspar Noe's (I STAND ALONE) film uses a reverse narrative structure similar to MEMENTO through which the audience learns the motivations for the murder and the relationships of three parties directly involved, the beautiful Alex (Monica Bellucci) and two men who adore her (Vincent Cassel and Albert Dupontel). The frenzied style of the opening gives way to increasingly static camera work throughout leading to an idyllic final shot of Alex, who the audience has long known is a doomed woman, set to Beethoven and alive with color and youthful innocence otherwise absent from this bleak urban nightmare. The film disregards conventional editing by ending each scene with a dizzying camera whirl. Since each scene is intended to look like a single take (although there are seamless cuts throughout), this gives the film the appearance of one continuous shot.