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By Eric Allen Hatch | Posted

Most film reviews don't begin with a warning that the work in question will probably offend almost everyone that encounters it. Of course, most films aren't by Gaspar Noé, the taboo-breaking French auteur behind 1998's cult favorite I Stand Alone. Essentially an inverted revenge film with a brutally morbid twist, Irreversible captures lovers played by A-list French actors Monica Bellucci and Vincent Cassel during a grim, life-altering evening. For the most iron-stomached and open-minded viewers, Noé's film may justify its almost unprecedented brutality with passages that force us to seriously reconsider both the tenor of the personalities we've been following and the very way in which films transmit information. And even as Irreversible presents devastating violations as an unavoidable eventuality of life, it strongly considers the flawed impulses that inform human reactions to extreme situations. So as not to mince words, audiences have fled Irreversible for two very distinct reasons: the swooping, nausea-inducing camera movements of its early chapters, and an unrelenting rape scene that cannot help but make anyone who witnesses it extremely uncomfortable.

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