Wanna have a depressing and traumatized time? Watch these 3 movies. One could consider them a depressing “trilogy”, though they are not actually a trilogy. I know it’s not really a trilogy. But I’m going to keep referring to it as such, so bear with me.
Carne (1991) is a 40-minute short film, and I Stand Alone (1998) aka Seul Contre Tous (1998) is a sequel to Carne. The Butcher from those 2 movies appears in one scene in Irreversible (2002), but other than that, Irreversible has nothing to do with the other 2 movies.
UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARIES (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers]→ Butcher stabs innocent man. // Failed husband fails at fatherhood, employment, & life. // Bad boyfriend fails to avenge girlriend’s brutal rape.
PEOPLE: All 3 films were written & directed by Gaspar Noe’, who did Enter The Void. None of these movies are as good as Enter The Void, but they are a lot less boring than Enter The Void… That’s for sure. And they leave a stronger impact. Especially the rape scene in Irreversible. About 1 in 12 people walked out of Irreversible at the Cannes Film Festival. Hell, Gaspar Noe even employed a 26Hz sound to deliberately try to make people nauseous and dizzy. (I thought it was just shitty club music, haha.)
And The Butcher is the same guy who played the serial killer in High Tension! I’m recognizing French actors now… Wow.
And Pierre and Alex from Irreversible? They are married in real life.
The first 2 movies (Carne, I Stand Alone) go forward. They are incredibly nihilistic and amoral. The ending of I Stand Alone is perversely uplifting in a sick and twisted kind of way, but most people would not agree. To say these are not feelgood movies is an understatement.
Not too much really happened in this one. They do show a horse being butchered in the beginning, which will be shocking to some people. But horses are food and food gets butchered. It’s not disturbing to me in the least. The movie itself was kind of pretentious with the words on the screen (“Chaos Reigns!”), but, y’know, this is one of his first works, and I was expecting something a bit more artsy, & pretentious, as well as something extremely bleak… And I got that. Fortuntely this was only 38 minutes, because it was ultimately kind of boring.
We both give this one 2/5 stars, 5/10. Basically, we didn’t like it, but we didn’t hate it. Very neutral. Not quite a passing grade, but I do not regret watching it, because it really sets the backstory I Stand Alone.
IMDB’s native rating is 7.3/10, which is pretty high, all things considered.
This movie has a 7.3/10 rating on IMDB too! Same as the least. Carolyn also gave it the same rating: 2/5 stars, 5/10. I actually rated this a bit higher, 2.4/5 stars – i *almost* liked it, and 6/10 — a passable film.
…I stand alone is one of the bleakest, most depressing, existential, nihilistic movies I’ve ever seen. Soooo much internal monologue, but that’s what makes it what it is. That’s what makes it good. Total duality in the ending as he finds hope & love in his own severely twisted way, and you have to wonder if there’s really a victim here. The girl has nothing, and now she has someone who cares about her. Is she really any better or worse off than she was at the ward, in a pointless life that ends in nothing, where she will never have anything? Or is it all The Butcher’s twisted rationalization? He does actually care about her. That’s more than the people who operate the ward, right? Twisted fucking movie. (I haven’t seen this much internal monologue since The Informant.)
Irreversible, the 3rd movie, goes backward. The brutal climax comes first, then things get lighter and lighter. It makes the ending kind of boring, but it allows you to reflect on the brutality, rather than having it be an exploitative climax. And it adds some intrigue to figuring out what the plot is.
Seeing the climax of Irreversible is particularly disturbing because you have no idea why it is happening. And I’m not even talking about the 10-minute Monica Belucci rape scene. A lot of people got mad and considered the director to be “profiting off of rape”, which is so utterly fucking ridiculous; it’s like saying Spielberg profited off the Holocaust for making Schindler’s List. This is the one of the few movies to really show the depths of brutality of rape, without cutting away or leaving it to the viewer’s imagination.
This movie has more actual violence than the other two, yet it isn’t quite as bleak, depressing, existential, and nihlistic…. Even though everything went to shit anyway.
This one actually got 3/5 stars from both of us, 6/10 from Carolyn, 7/10 from Clint. Quite a strong movie. It leaves a lasting impression. It inspires one to think about it. It is art, despite people who immediately say that it’s not art because they didn’t like being faced with everyday brutality. And yes… the brutality in the movie happens EVERY DAY, somewhere. But people don’t want to think about it.
SIMILAR MOVIES: Enter The Void certainly has some similar feels to this, but it is goddamn uplifting in comparison. The bleakness, poverty, death, boringness, and odd camerawork of Enter The Void are certainly reminiscent of these movies, especially Irreversible.
RECOMMENDATION: These movies are not for the faint of heart. You must be a Level 10 movie watcher with a movie-watching constitution of 17 for your psyche to have enough hit points to withstand their onslaught. Watching all 3 in a row is difficult! Watch with caution. *Two* different scenes in Irreversible are often put in peoples’ “10 Most Traumatizing Film Moments I’ve Ever Seen”. This list usually accompanies other scenes like the end of Oldboy, the nipple-slice in Ichi The Killer, Saw, Hostel, Cannibal Holocaust, and others. Still though…. For reference, I still think torture-murder is worse than non-torture murder is worse than getting the fuck beaten out of you is worse than rape without getting the fuck beaten out of you. The scenes in irreversible felt more real than in, say, Hostel…. which made them that much harder to process. Carolyn was a bit down after watching these. I was happy that they weren’t MY life. France just seems depressing and non-romantic, now. (more…)