Though it’s certainly not easy viewing, I still believe that Gaspar Noé’s 2002 drama Irreversible is an absolute masterpiece and a film that the director still hasn’t matched. Though renowned mainly for its rape scene which plays without cuts and therefore gives the audience no chance to look the other way, its way of telling its story backwards is just as distinctive, and to my mind is essential to the experience, especially with that final – yet also the beginning – scene of its heroine in that park, blissfully happy that she’s pregnant, which is well nigh heartbreaking.
However, Noé has just recut his film so that the individual scenes can be seen chronologically in a clockwise order, as well as removing five minutes of non-dialogue footage so the scenes fit together better. Noé has made it clear that the old version is still his ‘director’s cut’ and the “real version”. But he says that:
“Removing the anti-clockwise structure, a mentally invasive formal concept, brings out the actors’ performances that much more forcefully. The gentleness or violence of the situations and the emotional states of the characters become even more apparent.”
Originally, this version was only supposed to be a bonus on the newly announced Blu-ray, but the director likes it so much that he wanted it to have its own release. It recently premiered at the Venice Film Festival.
Will the film still work in this edit? Well it will be different, that’s for sure.