For better or worse, cinema’s enfant terrible of yore and current hack artist Gaspar Noe is, to many, above any introduction except yours truly will dispense one anyway, so I promise to keep it short. No stranger to controversy, and dazzling mind-bending visuals aside, he is known for exactly one thing more than the transgressive ideas he chooses to communicate. I find myself time and again admiring his rebellious streak and hands-on filmmaking but lately it’s as if the former of his methods is taking on an irreverent tone for no other reason that to get a charge out of shocking the prudent. Even more puzzling is why he feels the need to prove anything to anyone and make films with people in mind instead of ripping a page out of Pialat’s handbook and say “fuck it, my movies are mine above all else, everyone else can unzip it and suck it.” And he does exactly that in his latest, and somewhat lackluster film in a move more referential than Fincher’s splice of a dick pic in Fight Club‘s credit roll, but only just. Third grade shit. I still laughed. Although not as hard as when I saw him in a wigged, English-speaking cameo at about midway through.That’s Love for you. And it’s a bittersweet remuneration on lost love that works as an antithesis to Malick’s To The Wonder but looks more like a puerile knockoff had that actually been the intention. Instead we wind up with a mea culpa of sorts with incessant shoutouts to Noe’s favorite film. Kubrick’s 2001. His other works show subtle influences that crop up in his movies but I’ll only talk about one, his quintessential, embodying opus because there’s way too many dedicated reviews to it as it is. Irreversible. His most notorious of a sporadic output. First conceived as his very own Eyes Wide Shut, and seeking to capitalize on Memento‘s then still-nascent novelty, Noe’s three-page treatment coalesced into a unique infusion of two notable sources. According to legend, i.e., fact, the star duo alone secured financing in France but the reality is he’d been left scrambling for an idea when his original plan for Love wasn’t well received by the two stalwarts.
By virtue of temporal proximity of release, Irreversible, while mostly a revenge drama, features a few thematic parallels and picturesque negatives to Eyes Wide Shut. And not that it needs any, it borrows several enriching bits from other Kubrick works. The Pierre character screaming expletives in between blows is reminiscent of Jack Torrance and the axe scene in terms of manic loss of composure. The extinguisher representing a phallic object is straight out of A Clockwork Orange‘s home invasion scene, where an actual dick-shaped ceramic ornament is slammed onto a woman’s head. Club Rectum being the BDSM safe enclave to the assault victim’s home. You could also liken the Christmas party early in Eyes Wide Shut to the swingers party in the middle of Irreversible, while the masked orgy would correspond to the Rectum. The tuxedo shop owner and the butcher… need I say more? The thematic thread of dreams running through each film’s narrative spine is obvious now, but its chronological progression is not conceptually distant from 2001: A Space Odyssey‘s voyage through evolution. There is an ominous serving of loaded paranoia threatening the heteronormative household in both Eyes Wide Shut and Irreversible and I’ve found the idea of urban angst told somewhat truthfully in both. Could you safely argue that both couples brought it on themselves without blaming the victim in either example though? It’s a fun discussion. As a whole, Kubrick’s filmography is vast in discourse. Horror. War. Science Fiction. Comedy. Period. Fitting any other images from such a broad range of genres into one one-trick pony’s film would be reaching. I mean.. Lolita or Full Metal Jacket in Irreversible as a post’s heading sounds like forcing the issue. Even Barry Lyndon‘s natural lighting failed to make the cut, which shouldn’t uniformly shatter my waning credibility from this post.