List: The 8 Most Disturbing Films of The New Wave
In these scenes Cassel builds an emotional hysteria frightening to behold, and it culminates in savage murder with a fire extinguisher to the face that renders a man into a grasping, pulpy creature - the reduction of something human to an object of flesh. The nine-minute rape scene, filmed in real time and enhanced with digital effects (including a CGI penis), is, I dare say without hyperbole, the most upsetting thing to appear in the history of film. It is one of the only scenes of sexual violence in a horror film not intended to titillate but to make the viewer sober up with the grim realization of the actual effects of violence. In this moment we move from mere exploitation to emotional revelation. After these two scenes, the rest of the film is in danger of falling by the wayside, as we simply want to get through the ordeal. Noé caps it all off, in fine French fashion, by provocatively justifying the shocks with a philosophical notion that "time destroys all things,"and then traces that conceit all the way back to the beginning of the universe.
...."Essentially, what the French have done is up the ante in terms of bloodletting, bringing fresh kineticism and a sense of obscenity to the usual acts of brutality, while still maintaining at least a modicum of existential weight and emotion amidst the proceedings."