Director: Gaspar Noé
Year Released: 2002
Could conceivably wind up being one of the greatest films to come out this decade: a horrible nightmare that details the descent from bliss to grim hell as told in reverse - a gimmick (like Memento), perhaps, but Noé is insightful enough to use his gimmicks to full effect (the camera, spiraling and spinning out of control, suggests drunken rage or some form of vertigo, and its usage is deeply unsettling and therefore effective), and his movie's power is built on much more than plot and camera tricks. The intensity generated here is nearly unparalleled - the vaunt through the gay bar keeps your imagination working as events take place off-screen or barely in focus, and the assault on Monica Bellucci in the red tunnel is a terrifying vision of animal behavior (it satisfies her character's claim, a scene later - technically earlier - that a person should worry about his or her own sexual pleasure instead of his or her partner's). Noé can be accused of trying to say too much - everything from sexual ambiguity (and the fear of such ambiguity; Noé is aware of the power of such homophobic and sexist insults and the crass usage is intentional), the dream life of humans, the mechanics of romantic relationships, and so on are mentioned - but why complain when someone skips the easy endings and simple explanations and tries redefining the medium?