Irreversible Movie Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

Thriller Irreversible: What Really Happened to the Heroine of Monica Bellucci? Irreversible (2002): plot summary, meaning of the film with Monica Bellucci, ending, similar movie.

Country: France

Genre: Thriller, Drama, Crime, Detective

Year of production: 2002

Directed by: Gaspar Noe

Actors: Monica Bellucci, Vincent Cassel, Albert Dupontelle

tagline: “Time destroys everything”

Awards and nominations: In 2002, the film was presented at the Cannes Film Festival and received a nomination for the Palme d’Or

After several previous works awarded at the Cannes Film Festival, Gaspard Noé decided to shock the viewer in a more brutal manner. He succeeded: the plot of the film Irréversible is so gloomy that at the IFF screenings, some visitors became ill from the violent scenes.

The reaction of professional critics to the picture was ambiguous and polar. Despite the fact that the film cannot boast of a strong script, it makes you think about many things – for example, that some events in our lives are inevitable.

What is the movie about

Brief description of the content of the film Irreversible. The film, starring Monica Bellucci, consists of 13 episodes. All these scenes, each of which carries a certain meaning, are mounted in reverse chronological order. The action of the tape takes place within one day.

Alex, a beautiful young woman, tells her husband Marcus about the dream she had. She dreamed that she was walking along a long red corridor divided in two. A little later (the dream continues) she takes a pregnancy test and gets a positive result. To celebrate, she goes to a party with Marcus and her ex-husband Pierre. On the way, she tells them about the book she is reading. It says that dreams must be trusted because they reflect reality beyond time.

Marcus takes cocaine, because of this, Alex quarrels with him, leaves the party and goes home alone. Frustrated, she descends into an empty underpass with flickering lamps and red walls. There she sees how a certain man uses force against a “moth”. Alex tries to stand up for the girl, but the rapist switches to her, beats her badly, disfigures her face and hints that he is bisexual.

Meanwhile, Marcus and Pierre also leave the party and notice that Alex is being taken away by an ambulance. Several representatives of the local “brotherhood” approach them and offer to find and punish the criminal for a certain fee. The men agree and an investigation begins.

The homegrown detectives soon find the woman Alex stood up for. It turns out that in fact it is a male transvestite. The guy knows the aggressor well and names the address of the gay club where he often visits. The company goes there and Marcus mistakenly attacks a man who was not involved in Alex’s rape.

In a fight, he breaks his arm and practically rapes him, but Pierre, armed with a fire extinguisher, stands up for his friend. Without calculating his strength, he kills the offender. After that, Marcus is hospitalized, and Pierre is accused of murder and sent to the police station. The real criminal has been around all this time, but no one can figure him out. This is the end of the storyline. From this moment begins the film Irreversible.

Vincent CasselThe role of Marcus was played by Vincent Cassel. Frame from the film.

In the first mise-en-scene, we are shown two men of quite a criminal type. Sitting in a small apartment above a gay club, they have a conversation. One of them is named Butcher, and he confides to a friend that he was arrested for having sex with his own daughter. The second mockingly says to this that the most important thing is to have fun. When they hear the noise in the street, they do not pay attention to it, because fights in a gay club are a common thing…

Irreversible Ending explanation

Explanation of the ending of the picture. In the finale (according to the chronology of the story, this episode is the first) we see a dormant Alex, who is expecting a baby. In the very last scene, a young woman is reading a book called “The Time Experiment”. In one of the mise-en-scenes, she broadcasts the thoughts gleaned from there. The last thing we see is the picture’s slogan: “Time destroys everything.”

Perhaps the meaning of the ending of the movie “Irreversible” is that everything that happened is only Alex’s nightmare. It was caused, most likely, by the fears typical of a woman preparing to become a mother. As is often the case, her brain interpreted all her anxieties in such a terrible way.

However, the final picture has another interpretation. According to some viewers who have analyzed the film, the meaning of the final is that everything that happened is a reality. After Alex was raped, their future together with Marcus was killed. Their child will not be born now. They themselves will have to recover for a long time, and Pierre will have to sit for murder. What will happen next is unknown.

The meaning of the film Irreversible

According to many viewers, Irreversible is a heavy and very dark film. Stories about how people had to call an ambulance during the premiere of the film are not a cheap trick designed to increase interest in the film, but the truth. The key to such an almost mass hysteria lies in the use of low-frequency sound, reminiscent of the noise of an earthquake. According to experts, this effect can cause restlessness, mild nausea and dizziness. People also left the halls because of the flickering white screen, which can cause a seizure even in someone who is completely healthy. As Gaspard Noe himself said, it was his idea – he sought just such a reaction.

“Irreversible” has a non-linear narrative structure. First, we see the end of the story, and then, in small but very vivid episodes, we are brought to its beginning. However, unlike Nolan, who uses a similar strategy in Remember, Noe does not seek to confuse the viewer. Instead, he subtly and clearly separates one event from another using a black screen, making it difficult for even an inexperienced viewer to get lost in a fairly simple (no hidden meaning here), but lively and tough plot.

Another distinctive feature of Irreversible is the original and interesting lens movement in the first episodes. Lacking a clear trajectory, it helps to complement the drunken and aggressive mood of each mise-en-scene. Toward the middle of the picture, this effect disappears, and we see everything that happens, filmed by a hand-held camera, which relentlessly follows the characters.

In “Irreversible” we are presented with a reverse chronological order of events. In ordinary paintings, everything goes “as expected” – exposition, plot, conflict, climax and denouement. Here the plot is reversed. We see two men discussing the noise outside the window. In the next frame, we are shown what exactly is happening there – in a word, the viewer is traveling through time by the will of the director. He is aware of how it all ended, but he has yet to find out the beginning of the story.

Albert DupontelAlbert Dupontel starred as Pierre. Frame from the film.

Each of the thirteen scenes in the film ends with the camera panning upwards. Thus, due to the appearing white flashes, a “blur effect” is created. Given that the scenes are in reverse order, an undo action occurs, the essence of which is that each subsequent episode “erases” the previous one. Thanks to this editing, Alex’s shockingly realistic scene of rape seems to be revenge for the murder committed by Pierre in a gay club, and not vice versa. However, a little later, the young woman will wake up and return to the happy path of motherhood …

At the very end of the picture, we see Alex sleeping peacefully in the park. But does a cloudless, prosperous future await her? .. To answer this question, it is worth remembering with what phrase (it also contains the essence of the film) Noe’s tape ends: “Time destroys everything.” That is, the director brings us to the idea that there can be no bright future for the heroine Monica Bellucci.

Irreversible of time should not frighten, but sober. But the joke is that even at the moment of inclusion in reality, somewhere under the crust there will still be the knowledge that sooner or later we can be overtaken by something that cannot be changed – something that will destroy life. This is exactly what happened to Alex…

As hard as it is to watch Irreversible, this is a movie that needs to be seen. The phrase “Time destroys everything” is repeated several times over an hour and a half. If this picture were different – less harsh and gloomy – no one would probably pay attention to it. But time really destroys everything in its path. In the morning you can make plans for life, and in the evening of the same day you can sit in the emergency room or lie in a hospital bed. Probably Alex and Marcus will survive, but will forever remain mutilated and broken. Will they be able to live on as before the events of the day seen by the audience?

the main characters of the filmFrame from the film.

Similar films

Here are a few films similar in meaning to Irreversible with Monica Bellucci:

  • “Memento” (USA, 2000). The hero, suffering from amnesia, is trying to find the killer of his wife.
  • “Entrance to the Void” (France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Japan, 2009). Oscar and Linda are brother and sister who earn their living through not entirely legal means. One day the young man dies, but his soul remains on Earth.
  • “Malena” (Italy, USA, 2000). Malena, an incredibly beautiful woman who easily turns the heads of men, becomes an object of obsession for a teenager. Ironically, he is the only one who has a serious feeling for her.
  • “5×2” (France, 2004). Gilles and Marion are a young married couple. Everything in their life flows easily and smoothly – up to one moment …
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