New, cool French guy.
I Stand Alone (1998) -- There are a lot of movies where cranky old men talk about how much the world sucks, but the problem with those is usually that the writer or director seems to believe it (and, furthermore, have no real reason for believing it). Gaspar Noé, however, has clearly created a character: someone extremely over-the-top with his views that are -- to put it lightly -- racist and misogynistic and worse. Noé gets away with a lot, and it's because he knows what he's doing. Also -- for the first several minutes anyway -- the movie is pretty hilarious. And it never lets up, with lots of "bang, zoom" camera action that might have been a bad idea in another movie but here keeps up the perfect momentum needed. To my mind, this is the movie to watch if you only want to see one Taxi Driver-style film about this despicable and likable "underground man" (and, yes, even more than Taxi Driver itself).
Irreversible (2002) -- All the positive things I believed about Gaspar Noé based on I Stand Alone were rethought once I saw this movie. He's still got an interesting style and a sometimes fun sense of violence, but this time he goes overboard. The movie begins with a hellish whirling exploration of a gay nightclub called The Rectum that ends with someone getting his head bashed in with a fire extinguisher. So far, so good. The movie is then told in reverse--Harold Pinter style, but without a real reason for it. Eventually we get to a super-long rape scene that makes us wonder why we're looking at it. I'm not sure Noé knows either. After that scene, the movie loses all interest, following (still in reverse) characters who aren't likeable or interesting. The only thing we learn is that maybe "she was asking for it" (both in the way she dressed and the decision she made to walk alone in a tunnel), always a no-no for me when rape movies are concerned and always a clue that the creator of the scene simply gets off on rapes or hates women. One day I might re-think the movie, but as someone who's offended by next to nothing, I found this one too problematic to truly enjoy.
Copyright (c) Sep 2006 - Mar 2008 by Rusty Likes Movies