Released:  2002

Cast:  Monica Bellucci, Vincent Cassel, Albert Dupontel

SUMMARY:  This film is told in reverse order, so while I’m going to write the summary in the order it appears in the film, I’m going to separate each scene into separate paragraphs.  This should give you an idea of how the film plays out.

In a tiny apartment, two men are talking about a crime committed by the older one.  They hear a commotion outside, which the older one says is just regular disturbance from a gay BDSM nightclub called The Rectum.  Outside on the street, a man named Mourad talks to the police.

A man named Pierre (Albert Dupontel) is handcuffed and led out of The Rectum.  Another man, Marcus (Vincent Cassel) is wheeled out on a stretcher, clearly suffering from a broken arm.  Mourad and another man, Layde, shout repeated homophobic slurs as Pierre and Marcus are led past them.  Apparently, one or both of them have murdered a man in the club.

An enraged Marcus bursts into The Rectum, followed unwillingly by Pierre.  Marcus storms through the club, looking for someone known as Le Tenia.  He finally finds him standing next to another man, and attacks him.  However, the man quickly gains the upper hand, pinning Marcus to the floor, breaking his arm, and preparing to rape him.  Pierre comes to the rescue, using a fire extinguisher to bash the man’s head in and kill him.

Marcus and Pierre flag down a taxi to take them to The Rectum.  They don’t know its location, and when the driver doesn’t know it either Marcus goes ballistic.  He begins verbally and physically assaulting the driver, ultimately throwing him out of the taxi and driving himself.

Accompanied by two large men — Mourad and Layde — Pierre and Marcus search the streets for a prostitute known as Concha.  Concha is rumored to have witnessed a rape, and Pierre and Marcus want to know who committed it.  They manage to find Concha, but she refuses to talk to them.  Marcus then grabs a piece of glass and threatens to cut Concha’s face unless she starts talking (over repeated protests from Pierre).  Concha reveals that the rape was committed by a pimp known as Le Tenia; she also tells them to look for him at The Rectum.  The four men are quickly driven off by a group of prostitutes coming to Concha’s rescue.

Alex (Monica Bellucci) is revealed to be comatose, and is taken to the hospital.  Marcus and Pierre are both questioned about what happened:  Pierre reveals that Alex left a party some fifteen minutes earlier than them.  After the questioning, they are approached by Mourad and Layde.  These two men claim to be more effective than the police on the streets, and to find the guilty party for a price.  Marcus and a reluctant Pierre agree to the deal.

Marcus and Pierre leave a party to find that a rape has been committed just outside the building.  They are horrified to learn that the woman, who has been raped and severely beaten, is Marcus’s girlfriend Alex.

Alex leaves a party, and when she can’t get a taxi, decides to use the underpass that crosses the streets.  In one of the tunnels, she finds a pimp (Le Tenia) beating a prostitute (Concha).  When Le Tenia sees Alex, he lets go of Concha and instead turns on Alex, holding her at knife point.  He then forces her to the ground and anally rapes her before beating her into unconsciousness (at this point, I should note that you can now see that the man killed in The Rectum was not Le Tenia — Le Tenia was the guy standing next to him).

Alex, Pierre and Marcus attend a party where Marcus proceeds to drink to excess and do cocaine.  He comes on to other women and basically ignores Alex, which irritates Pierre.  Pierre repeatedly asks Marcus to stop, but is ignored.  Finally, Alex also gets fed up with the behavior and decides to leave the party.  Pierre and Marcus both offer to take her home, but she turns them down.

Alex, Pierre and Marcus board a subway to get to the party.  During the trip, they discuss the failed relationship between Pierre and Alex, and how sex played a role in the breakup.

Alex and Marcus are woken up by a phone call from Pierre, regarding a party that night.  Alex tells Marcus that there is a possibility of pregnancy, which Marcus is happy about.  After fooling around in bed for a while, Marcus leaves to buy alcohol to take to the party; Alex takes a shower.  She then uses a home pregnancy test and confirms that she is pregnant.

Alex sits on a bed, her hand on her stomach.

Alex reads a book in a park, amidst a crowd of children playing.  The image then begins to spin until it turns into a strobe effect, ultimately showing the phrase “Le Temps Detruit Tout” — Time Destroys Everything.

MY TAKE:  Roger Ebert said this was “a movie so violent and cruel that most people will find it unwatchable.”  I would agree with that statement, as I very nearly turned it off before finishing.  During the scene where Pierre crushes the guy’s skull with the fire extinguisher, I looked away after the first few hits because it was so incredibly violent.  However, it was during the rape scene that I nearly turned it off.  I actually did pause the movie and think about it, because I was really sickened.  I’ve watched a lot of really ass-numbingly boring movies for this blog, and I stopped watching one out of boredom and time constraints (I plan to watch the whole thing later, so that I can blog it).  However, I have never stopped one because I was so troubled by what was going on, or blogged about a half-finished movie.  Ultimately, I skipped past the bulk of the rape scene because I couldn’t stomach it.  I did watch the rest of it, just so that I could maintain my watched-every-one record.  I don’t even have anything to say about the story, because everything is overshadowed by the brutality.

RATING:  Disturbing.  Don’t watch it.



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