Irreversible (2002) : Final Scene Analysis
What exactly did the ending of the movie pose to depict?
The Ending Scene
As we might recall, Alex is seen in a floral sundress, with child, and she's laying on the lush green grass with other women whose children run and play around the water sprinkler. What was the significance of the lush green grass and the heavenly scenario that it predicted? To understand that, I'd first like to put my thoughts about how the movie's shot and its signficance to the ending.
Time is irreversible
The entire movie is shot in a drifting anti-clockwise motion and it never reverses into a clockwise motion. The movie works retrospectively. The first scene shows a restless Marcus looking for the man who raped his girlfriend and his failed attempt to bring justice to her. The scenes reverse back to how she was brought into her fate as rawfully as possible. From here, the entire movie shows how Marcus/Alex would recall the entire situation. And isn't that common for all of us?
Time Ruins Everything
Hence, from this, it can be deduced how marcus/alex is recalling events from the past and thinking about ways in which the inevitable could be avoided or how everything lead to what happened. The entire movie has the element of "if" to make the viewer wish that she chooses things differently this time but she can't since the event has already happened. What fixes the fate, is time. Hence, the movie ends with the quote "time ruins everything".
Another extremely interesting part of the movie is how it's relatable. How many of us could have not been subjected to an act as brutal as this, however, everytime something terrible happens to us or a loved one, we always recall how it took place. We recall ascendingly, from the most vivid to the least vivid memory and think about ways in which it could have been avoided. But in the end, it just makes us more and more hopeless.
For me, the last scene was Gasper Noe showing the viewers what they wanted to see. How if she had just avoided everything that lead to her assault, she could have had the baby and lived in the safe haven that she desired. However, as we've seen in the start, she's put in a coma and has possibly lost the child by the way she was raped and beaten. Hence, he breaks the reality just in the end, explaining how time has ruined everything. It cannot be reversed and what's done has been done.
We recall ascendingly, from the most vivid to the least vivid memory and think about ways in which it could have been avoided.
Hell and Heaven?
Another prediction was more simpler than the former. It could be that the first scene shows hell, where all the pedophiles/rapists are brought inside a closed space with bars and a bar of homosexuals who are full of lust and ignore to help the desperate man for help. The entire scene is shot in bright red lights, like a miniature of what hell would look like. This hell could also be what Marcus feels in that moment since as we go back in time, the colours seem cooler and cooler.
In the ending scene, the colours are bright and happy. It's possible that this is the way he wishes to go back in time and have things the way he pictured, where she is with his child and happy but he can't have that. And the last scene is a depiction of his last thought of how he blames the time for everything.
Director's Appreciation Note
It feels utterly important to note down the modesty exhibited by an artist for an artist. A poster of Space Odyssey is shown while Alex reads a book. Only a true artist can admire another artist.
© 2018 Zoya Dawar