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Irréversible 2002

Critics score:
57 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Glenn Lovell, San Jose Mercury News: Once the shock wears off and feeling returns to the extremities, Irreversible is unmistakably life-altering and affirming. Read more

Wesley Morris, Boston Globe: Noe's summation is an ideological sucker-punch from a filmmaker who gets off on abusive relationships. Read more

Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press: Extremely difficult to endure, and if you choose to endure it, it could leave you feeling angry and upset. Nevertheless, this is serious filmmaking, and Noe is a gifted filmmaker. Read more

Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald: It is a work specifically designed to disturb and disgust, and it accomplishes both goals so completely some people will find it impossible to watch at all. Read more

Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper: I hope people who go to see this don't walk out in the first ten minutes or after that scene, because I think you have to experience the entire film. And then you can decide whether or not you're offended by it. Read more

Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune: The hard, lurid images catch you in a vise. But dramatically, with few exceptions, it's a mess. Read more

Elvis Mitchell, New York Times: The frenzied momentum churns up a lot of adrenaline and stomach acid for Irreversible. But the performances certainly don't stir up much emotion. Read more

Bob Longino, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: A sometimes repellent yet deeply moving film. Read more

Manohla Dargis, Los Angeles Times: Noe isn't concerned with subverting the status quo. Indeed, what he really seems to want to do is make a Hollywood movie. Read more

Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader: So formally and stylistically aggressive that this aspect overpowers what it has to say, which isn't much. Read more

Houston Chronicle: Read more

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: An amazing and profoundly disturbing experience. Read more

Gary Dowell, Dallas Morning News: It's a gritty, vicious assault on the senses, one that very nearly evaporates due to writer-director Gaspar Noe's short-changing of the narrative. Read more

John Powers, L.A. Weekly: The opening 50 minutes are brutal, but if you can take the punishment, you'll probably be wowed by Noe's skills as a filmmaker. Read more

John Anderson, Newsday: What's apparent about Irreversible is that, at some point, the message about and depiction of violence becomes violence itself. Read more

Rex Reed, New York Observer: Powerful and profound. Read more

Andrew Sarris, New York Observer: Convinces me as nothing else so far that I have reached the point of diminishing returns with movies that pretend to be profound by having their pulpy, banal stories told backwards and sideways and upside-down. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: Those up to a challenge who attend with an open mind will find something to gnaw at the soul. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: The reverse chronology makes Irreversible a film that structurally argues against rape and violence, while ordinary chronology would lead us down a seductive narrative path toward a shocking, exploitative payoff. Read more

Andrew O'Hehir, Gaspar Noe's horrifying film about rape and revenge erases the boundaries between porn and exploitation. Read more

Edward Guthmann, San Francisco Chronicle: Is there a point to this spew, a cry against the mongrel violence of men? Or is Noe merely a sadist who enjoys inflicting ugly, pitiless images on his audience? Read more

David Edelstein, Slate: There is nothing moral about Irreversible -- only sneeringly superior and nihilistic, like Johnny Rotten at his most fatuous. Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: Read more

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Read more

Rick Groen, Globe and Mail: An integrated work whose form clearly mirrors its content. Read more

Geoff Pevere, Toronto Star: At once overwhelming and inconsequential, harrowing and banal, gimmicky and humourless, overheated and undercooked, this mega-hyped French movie may represent the ultimate triumph of cynicism in the global trade in non-English-language movies. Read more

Geoff Andrew, Time Out: Read more

Mike Clark, USA Today: Without an episode to develop character, Noe can't really finesse the 180-degree transition to show how a single event can irrevocably transform lives. Read more

J. Hoberman, Village Voice: Noe's stunt is an exploitation movie with a gimmick, not to mention a vacuous philosophy. Read more

Stephen Hunter, Washington Post: A genuine outlaw work of art. Read more