[Movie Review] Gaspar Noé's IRREVERSIBLE: STRAIGHT CUT
There are few films I would actually refer to as an assault on the senses. I often hear this phrase when it comes to big-budget IMAX movies or another inevitable sequel to a prominent franchise, but they are often just larger-scope films. IRREVERSIBLE is the ultimate assault on the senses. Originally released in 2002, Gaspar Noé’s controversial film was thrown in the same fix as other French extreme offerings like High Tension and Inside. This was the peak moment for the torture porn sub-genre as even the US was delving into the then-fresh Saw franchise and pretty much anything Eli Roth touched. Noé was notable for utilizing extreme violence as an artistic choice, not just as shock value, but as an emotional gut punch.

IRREVERSIBLE didn’t just rely on violence, but its portrayal of events as the film is told backward. It’s unclear at first why two men are hunting through a gay sex club called The Rectum and you would assume they are homophobic bashers. However, it’s not so simple as the night unfolds slowly and painfully to reveal their true intentions as lovers are brutally assaulted in the night and a friendship is pushed to its limits.

The original cut that was released unleashed graphic violence as soon as the movie begins, forcing the audience to face bloodshed immediately. While one would assume this is the worst, the rape scene that incited the gay club violence is probably one of the most difficult scenes to watch. IRREVERSIBLE: STRAIGHT CUT manages to give a more traditional narrative without comprising the extreme content. With IRREVERSIBLE: STRAIGHT CUT, we get an intimate glimpse into a trio where sex and drugs cause friction, but their love for each other keeps them together. In this version, the violence that eventually ensues feels more tragic as previous viewers are well aware of what’s to come. New viewers will probably feel like the second half will turn out to be a mere nightmare, but Noé isn’t afraid to force a nasty dose of reality.

While releasing a “straight cut” feels like a money grab, IRREVERSIBLE: STRAIGHT CUT actually feels like a whole new experience. I hadn’t seen the original cut in several years and only watched it once. Viewing this new version felt almost like an entirely new film. Despite the extreme content, IRREVERSIBLE: STRAIGHT CUT almost felt safe as a Noé film as he isn’t exactly known for presenting what could be considered a normal movie. The story is easier to follow and the mind is a bit less tense as we are no longer forced to glue the pieces together as the backward order threw us in for a bit of a loop. Also, IRREVERSIBLE: STRAIGHT CUT is not a merely re-edited film as the running time is slightly shorter due to some dialogue-less sequences being removed as they didn’t make sense in the traditional narrative.

IRREVERSIBLE is not a movie for everyone but is an experience that cinephiles should experience at least once. Whether viewers hate it or love it, we now have two different experiences to choose from and that pleases a completist like myself.

U.S. Theatrical Dates:

2/10 – 2/16 – IFC Center (New York, NY)***

2/10 – 2/16 – Landmark’s Nuart Theatre (Los Angeles, CA)

2/14 – PhilaMOCA (Philadelphia, PA)

2/14 – Popcorn Frights (Fort Lauderdale, FL)

2/17 – 2/23 Sie Film Center (Denver, CO)***

2/24 – 3/2 Alamo Drafthouse Mission (San Francisco, CA)***

2/24 – 3/2 Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar (Austin, TX)

2/24 – 3/2 Alamo Drafthouse Wrigleyville (Chicago, IL)

2/24 – 3/2 Alamo Drafthouse DTLA (Los Angeles, CA)

2/24 – 3/2 Alamo Drafthouse Manhattan (New York, NY)

2/24 – Alamo Drafthouse (Raleigh, NC)

2/24 – 2/28 – The Frida Cinema (Santa Ana, CA)

2/24 – 3/2 Central Cinema (Knoxville, TN)

3/10 – Cleveland Cinematheque (Cleveland, OH)

***35mm Print of the Original Cut on Select Dates

More Cities To Be Announced Soon

Irreversible: Straight Cut & Original Cut (2K Restorations) – U.S. Trailer from Altered Innocence on Vimeo.

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