LIONS GATE FILMS has released the controversial film, “IRREVERSIBLE”, on dvd as a special edition. For a change, the controversy was well deserved. “IRREVERSIBLE” is disturbing due to its content, but what makes it equally difficult to watch is Director Gaspar Noe’s heavy-handed, nauseating camera-work. It’s most annoying during the film’s opening sequence, which ala “MEMENTO” is actually the film’s ending. As the film opens, a dizzying camera makes the audience bare witness as two men are taken out of an extremely disturbing, dark, gay S&M club, one on a stretcher near death, and the other in handcuffs. As the film continues, we see what happened just before this scene, thus letting the viewer realize we’re watching the film in reverse. Again, as horrific as the scenes are to follow, they’re less bothersome to deal with than the annoying camerawork! One really gets the idea that Noe just took a film class, and learned a camera trick that he can’t help but use to death!
However, after the first 20 minutes, the camera is much less aggravating. The story, while still told in “reverse” is powerful, absorbing, and unforgettable. We find out that these two men were exacting revenge on the sick man who brutally raped and beat the love interest of the film, to near death. The rape is shown as a truly graphic, disturbing 12 minute sequence, and caused most of the uproar surrounding the film.
Real-life husband&wife(at the time)Monica Belluci and Vincent Cassel star, and their interplay with one another is captivating at every moment. On top of being a fine actress, Belluci’s natural beauty is of the jaw-dropping kind, and it’s rare to find someone like her willing to take on the kind of daring performance she assumes in this film. While some actresses like to toot their own horn for taking on a hard role, it’s hard to think of any recent performance that even comes close to what Belluci achieved here.
LIONS GATE has released the film in its original uncut version. Presented with the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio, and 16:9 enhancement, it’s a fine transfer. While during the aforementioned annoying opening(end)sequence, it’s hard to make out much of anything, this transfer replicates exactly what the film looked like in the theater. As the film progresses(reverses) the imagery becomes brighter, and the color levels are noticeably vibrant. The overall image offers great detail for a well-polished transfer. Grain is minimal. Fleshtones appear natural.
LIONS GATE has presented a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix for the release. Noe has used sound in an extremely effective, often disturbing manner, key to the film’s overall atmosphere. Dialogue is always intelligible(when it’s supposed to be!)and free from distortion.
LIONS GATE has included trailers for the film, and two videos. The videos are of the same dizzying nature as in the earlier scene of the film, mentioned.