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This is a movie with an unique approach, that still works most of its time but is also definitely not without its flaws.

It's a movie that is being told backwards. So it actually starts with its end credits and after that begins to tell its story backwards. No, don't worry, the characters aren't walking or talking backwards as well but each sequence starts at that moment where the next sequence in the film ends. This way you slowly start to see what event led up to its final sequence, which got shown first in this movie.

This way of storytelling actually adds to the chaos, which gets further more strengthened by very dynamic camera-work and the fact that the movie looks and feels realistic, without any apparent setup or rehearsals. So in that regard I really like the approach and way of storytelling that this movie features. I was actually really loving its first half (or its second half, depending on how you take this movie) but the movie can only do so much with its approach and can stay interesting and good to follow for so long.

There is no real reason for the movie to still continue after its notorious rape scene, at least for not as long as it did. The movie after that point lost too much of its power and steam. Also the entire way of storytelling ensures obviously that the movie gets a bit of a confusing and messy one to watch. You are constantly forced to think back about its previous sequence, which can make this movie a bit of a tiring one to watch. The movie is about 100 minutes long and it most definitely shouldn't had been much longer! As a matter of fact, it should had been much shorter really.

All in all it still remains a good and nicely executed experimental film but I'm surely glad that not more movies like this get made, since it's also such an exhausting experience, that asks a lot of its viewers. Some people will already be scared off by its approach, while others will be by its dark, depressing themes and extremely violent and graphic sequences. It's a hard movie to watch at times, in more than one way. But then again, this was probably an angle that the film-makers were aiming for in the first place. This was of course never meant to be a big commercial success at the box offices. It's almost as if they wanted their viewers to suffer while watching this and in that way the movie is also mostly an effective one.

It also works as an effective one because of its convincing acting. Monica Bellucci and Vincent Cassel surely add a lot to this film. It was actually the seventh movie they appeared in together and it wouldn't be their last one. The two of them have been married together since 1999, so they always have some great chemistry together, whenever they're acting in the same movie.

It's a great, different, original and powerful viewing experience, that is still not without its weaknesses really.

7/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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