From the striking opening title credits, it is obvious that Gaspar Noé's Irreversible is uncompromisingly raw cinema. The reports from Cannes foretold the film's shocking and controversial subject matter during its official screening, 20 people fainted and 250 others walked out. The official jury was litigiously divided o­n its merits. France's real life couple-du-jour Monica Bellucci and Vincent Cassel play the in-love duo Alex and Marcus, whose protected and contented lives are changed forever by a brutal rape, that provokes unbridled revenge. Noé's clever technical turn in unspooling the events in reverse (as in Christopher Nolan's Memento), from graphically depicted carnage to lovers' bliss, holds the audience hostage in a sense of suspenseful uneasiness, as we are led to understand (if not concur with) Marcus' blind rage in seeking revenge.Gaspar Noé's reputation as as an agitator (Seul contre tous) continues, this time his take o­n "homo homini lupus" (man is a wolf to man) is extended even further, to include the notion that "time destroys everything". In this dark and damned vision of uncontrollable primal forces at work, what remains is Irreversible's harsh redemption in forcing us to face the beast that potentially lurks within ourselves. 

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