Well this is viewing #2, and I'll be honest, I wasn't really thrilled about seeing this a second time. Watching the film though, I wondered how much it is style over substance. From a technical standpoint this is an amazing movie. The backwards story is played out, but what makes the film truly interesting is the fact that all the scenes are done in one shot. This allows for some extremely complicated tracking shots, and some great effects, most notably the face smashing scene near the beginning.
Long takes are always a preference of mine, so I had to say I was in admiration of the extended shots. The fact that the rape scene was done in one shot gave it a very disturbing realism. This is a film though that you can't warn people about properly. I said she wouldn't want to see it, and that she wouldn't like it, but well like telling a child they can't have something, it only makes them want it more. I'll admit there is a curiosity to the film, and that is what led most people to it. That and the fact that Monica Belluci was in it, and lord knows many a man has sat through movies just because of her presence.
I won't run around hailing this as a masterpiece, but on a second viewing I believe the film is successful in it's objective. It shows rape as the graphic and horrible act that it is. It adequatly shows the realtionship and why both men Pierre and Marcus are willing to look for revenge. It also demonstrates amazing film technique and extraordinary composition. Most people have an aversion to "gimmick" movies, Russian Ark comes to mind, but if executed properly, it can be quite an amazing experience. I do believe this pulls itself off, and is one of the most facinating films of recent years. So I guess I have seen at least one somewhat contemporary French film.