Time destroys everything
In 2002, the Cannes film festival had a controversial film about the sequence of events that occur after a woman is brutally raped compete. Irreversible was shot in reverse chronological order, and ultimately emphasizes the revenge of the event that occurs earlier in the night. By beginning with the vengeance of the assault, we are forced to think about the implications of what has transpired.
I get excited about films that use reverse chronological order as a technique to depict the content of the film. When used properly, this order of events ends up altering our emotions regarding a typically universal subject matter, and engages us to think differently about the content. Most notably my favourite movie to do so is 21 Grams, a film that came out in 2000 directed by Alejandro Gonzalez and depicts 3 different character stories that intertwine with each other.
When I first watched Irréversible years ago, I was excited about this technique used. One problem that can occur as a result of the reverse chronological sequence is that a film may start off very strong and generates a swift hard punch, but by the end of the film (or the beginning of the sequence), there is not a lot of tension or surprise. Irréversible skirts around the tension, and I do think it generally trickles off by the end of the film. That being said, I do think the plot line is simple and is presented in a pleasing manor and is genreally enjoyable.
The film is not meant to be “enjoyed” but rather appreciated from an artistic standpoint and endured for its raw power. It is successfully a beautifully structured and filmed piece of cinema. But I don’t think it is original. While, the filmmakers of Irréversible are successful at generating unique emotions in the film, I am generally not a huge fan of the film. The content matter does not bother me. There are a variety of scenes that depict graphic violence in an over the top fashion, that a number of critics have argued is overwhelmingly brutal and unwatchable. While, I don’t find the content to be overly traumatic, I have seen many films depicting rape and violence towards women that I believe are far better executed and more terrifying. My problem is that I am left with a feeling of being underwhelmed by the story and thinking to myself, do I really care about what I just saw? I am oddly concerned that all I am really left with is the notion that the filmmakers just wanted to make a shock and awe film, depicting the depravity of man and what lengths we will go to for vengeance.