The 12 scenes of Irreversible--each shot in a single, semi-improvised take--constitute something of a tour de force. But so would being dragged through the streets by a wire noose.
We hate to say it, but we can't find anywhere to view this film.
What are people saying?
What are critics saying?
Dallas Observer by Gregory Weinkauf
What isn't hard to say is that Noé really isn't a very talented filmmaker.
Wall Street Journal by Joe Morgenstern
To get to the beginning, one must first get through the end, which is almost literally unendurable.
Chicago Reader by Jonathan Rosenbaum
Stupid, vicious, and pretentious, though you may find it worth checking out if you want to experiment with your own nervous system.
Charlotte Observer by Lawrence Toppman
About halfway through Irreversible comes the longest sustained act of violence I've seen onscreen.
Baltimore Sun by Michael Sragow
Irreversible, though, is not a Kubrickian head trip. All Noe has come up with is a turn-on for sadists.
Chicago Sun-Times by Roger Ebert
The fact is, 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.
Portland Oregonian by Shawn Levy
Made with disarming craft and cunning. Intermixed in the memories it leaves of horror and disgust are glimpses of impressive technique and savvy psychological insight.
Philadelphia Inquirer by Steven Rea
Maybe, you think, there is something daring and brilliant going on here: an excursion into the darkest territories of the human soul. But no. In the end -- or the beginning -- there is no point to all this. Or at least not a point worth making, and making us watch.
Anyone with a weak heart or a queasy stomach should stay away. In fact, most everyone everywhere should stay away. But if you still want to see Irreversible, be prepared to see images that will upset and disturb you for a long, long time. Be prepared to be shaken to the very core.
Brutal. Incoherent. Pretentious. All words used to describe Irreversible and continue to mar Gaspar Noé's reputation to this day. I'm not sure if the labels are entirely unfair, but, what is indisputable is that Irreversible remains both one of the most controversial and influential films made in the last 20 years. For that reason alone, its presence cannot be easily dismissed.