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Irreversible (2002)

I watched this because it was in a book I picked up called “1001 Movies to Watch Before You Die.”  This is a movie I suppose I’m glad exists in theory, but wish I hadn’t watched, and definitely don’t recommend anyone else watching.

Sexual assault is often used as a plot device — to make a bad guy REALLY bad (“Rob Roy,” for instance), or to give a woman a legitimate reason to go on a killing rampage (like Jodie Foster in “The Brave One”) or to give her loved one a reason for wrath (like in “Lawless”)  or, in probably the worst possible scenarios, as part of the shock of a horror film (like in “Silent House”.)  But all of these both belittle and glamorize rape; it is a means to an end in the context of the film.  Victims of sexual abuse, or those who love them, could convincingly argue that this is disrespectful, cheap, and cynical.  Nothing treats rape as the actual horror it is; no film lets it be the end itself.

And that’s what “Irreversible” does, and that’s why you might be glad this film was made – it depicts rape in all of its soul crushing, terrifying, disturbing horror.  There is a brutal rape at the center of this film, and everything around it is pointing to it or because of it.  It’s not glamorized.  It’s not thrilling.  It’s definitely not sexy or erotic.   It is absolutely horrifying.  This is a movie about a rape, pure and simple.

But wanting such a thing to exist and actually watching it are two different things.  The rape scene is seven minutes long, and they might be the longest seven minutes in cinema.  I’ll admit, I bailed out – I made it through no more than two minutes, then had to fast forward it.   I couldn’t handle it.  I think if I had seen it in the theaters instead of my laptop, I would’ve been physically sick.

And I’m no pansy.  I have pretty thick skin when it comes to movies; maybe thicker than it should be.  But this was the most brutal and disturbing scene I have ever seen in a film.  Please, unless you are one of those sick0s who think rape “isn’t that bad,” don’t watch this film.  You can be glad it exists in theory, but don’t subject yourself to it.  I wish I hadn’t.

Verdict:  Not Recommended.   Don’t watch this.

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  1. You could argue that 50% is too high, or that it should be lower for more serious allegations like rape and murder. But at some point you have to draw a line and say “beyond this, it’s not worth the candle”.

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