Irréversible contains fourteen scenes presented in reverse chronological order. They are arranged here in chronological order.
1. An Italian woman living in France named Alex is reading An Experiment with Time by J. W. Dunne in a park, surrounded by playing children. Beethoven's 7th Symphony is heard in the background. The camera spins around faster and faster until it blacks out into a strobe effect, accompanied by a pulsing, roaring sound. A rapidly spinning image of a lawn sprinkler resembling the cosmos can be dimly perceived. A title card reads: "Le Temps Detruit Tout" ("Time destroys everything") – a phrase uttered in the film's first scene. The film ends. (The use of Beethoven's 7th Symphony also ties this film directly to Noé's next picture, Enter The Void, where the same composition is used in the title sequence).
2. Alex sits on a bed clothed. A poster for Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, with the tagline "The Ultimate Trip", is on the wall above the headboard.
3. Alex lies in bed with Marcus after having sex. Alex reveals she might be pregnant, and Marcus is pleased with the possibility. They prepare to go to a party, and Marcus leaves to buy wine. Alex takes a shower, then uses a home pregnancy test that confirms she is pregnant. She is elated.
4. At a nearby Paris Métro station and aboard a subway train, Alex, Marcus and Pierre are on their way to a party. They discuss sex, and Pierre refers to the fact that he and Alex once dated, and implies that Marcus stole Alex from him.
5. Alex, Marcus, and Pierre have arrived at the party. Alex is annoyed by Marcus's unrestrained use of drugs and alcohol and his flirtatious behavior with other women, and consequently decides to leave the party alone.
6. On her way home, Alex sees a pimp called "Le Tenia" ("The Tapeworm") beating a transgender prostitute named Concha in a pedestrian underpass. Once the man sees Alex, he releases Concha and turns his attention to Alex, who attempts to flee, but Le Tenia catches her and threatens her with a knife. Le Tenia pins Alex to the ground and anally rapes her for several minutes of screentime, after which he brutally beats her into unconsciousness.
7. Marcus and Pierre leave the party and encounter a commotion on the street, learning from a group of bystanders that a woman has been attacked. Marcus wails as he discovers Alex's bloodied body being wheeled on a stretcher into an ambulance by paramedics.
8. Alex is hospitalized and revealed to be alive but comatose. Marcus and Pierre are questioned by the police. They then talk to a street thug named Mourad and his friend Layde. The two gangsters promise, if they get paid, to help them find the rapist, who Mourad claims is Le Tenia. Marcus and Pierre go looking for the man who raped Alex. Marcus is still high on drugs and very agitated.
9. The men track down Concha, Le Tenia's last victim. At first, she refuses to talk to them. After Marcus threatens to slash her with a piece of broken glass, she identifies Le Tenia as the rapist and says he can be found at a gay BDSM nightclub called The Rectum. They are soon chased by angry prostitutes seeking to defend Concha. Mourad and Layde run in a different direction.
10. Marcus and Pierre hail a taxi. Marcus assaults the taxi driver and steals the car.
11. Marcus and Pierre drive through Paris in the stolen taxi. They encounter people in and around a local bar as they attempt to locate The Rectum. While sitting in the taxi, Pierre begs to go to the hospital to see Alex, but Marcus gets angry and breaks the windshield with a wrench.
12. Marcus and Pierre go to The Rectum, but do not know what Le Tenia looks like. Marcus finds Le Tenia standing with another man, Mick. Thinking Mick is Le Tenia, Marcus assaults him, but Mick wrestles him to the ground, breaks Marcus's arm, and attempts to rape him on the club floor. Pierre defends Marcus by using a fire extinguisher to crush Mick's skull, killing him. Le Tenia stands by and stares, shocked and amused that he got away.
13. Police arrest Pierre and put him in handcuffs. An ambulance arrives, and Marcus is put on a stretcher and taken from the club. Outside, Mourad and Layde shout insults at Pierre and Marcus. The murdered man is revealed not to be Le Tenia after all. Rather, the man standing next to him in the club was the real Le Tenia.
14. Across the street in a small apartment, two men are talking about sex. One of them is "the Butcher", the protagonist of Noé's previous film, I Stand Alone. In a drunken monologue, the Butcher reveals that he was arrested for having sex with his own daughter. The subject of their discussion shifts to the commotion in the streets outside. Without looking out the window, they derisively attribute the commotion to the patrons of The Rectum. Outside, Mourad is seen talking to a police officer.
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