Gasper Noe's 1998 film I Stand Alone (Seul Contre Tous) is a visceral mindfuck of a movie. This film doesn't use trippy visuals or any kind of fancy storyline to grab your attention. Truth be told, it doesn't want your attention. Noe even gives you 20 seconds to leave the film. Is this a brutal and depraved film? Yes. Is it disturbing and morally fucked? Does this make it a bad film? No, it doesn't, but that seems to be the majority of opinion.
The plot is very one-minded, just as the attitude of it's character is. Phillipe Nahon (Best known for High Tension) plays The Butcher, whose anger and aggression knows no bounds. In a very informative opening scene, we see stills of his family as he explains his fathers death at the hands of "Evil Nazi's" and how he was an orphan. We view his love for butchery (Which fits his personality best) and we see that he opens up his own shop. He meets his lover, a beautiful co-worker and has a steamy session in a hotel.
9 months later, Cynthia is born. This proves to be too much to handle, as the Butcher gets left with Cynthia. Fast forward a couple of years, Cynthia gets her first period and on the way to the shop, she almost gets raped. Poor Poor Butcher. When comes in with bloody underwear, his head screams Rape. He grabs his butcher knife, finds the kid, and stabs him in the face. He lived, and the Butcher was sent to jail while Cynthia was institutionalized. Upon his release, he meets a bar owner, knocks her up as well, and decides to move and forget about his daughter.
What happens from here on out it best to watch on your own. Spoilers are a very sensitive topic on film, and i wouldn't want to weaken this films power. This film is a bold and audacious character study which delves deeper into the mind of a madman then lets say "Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer". Director Gasper Noe somehow brings art to the most violent situations.
Expect many wonderful shots and amazing angles. That seems to be Noe's specialty. Example: Irreversible. There are many different kinds of love and this film proves it. The soundtrack features classical symphonies that give you a false sense of security and make you feel most uncomfortable. This mans morales are out of whack, from calling a bar-keepers son a "Nigger Faggot" to threatening to kill his unborn fetus, the Butcher is not a man to be reckoned with.
Phillipe Nahon delivers a ground-breaking performance. The Butcher is one of the more fucked up characters i have seen. He is a racist, trashy, and hostile being and his very life disgusts me but hey, to each his own. With wonderful narration and insanity driven monologues, I Stand Alone is a force to be seen but the film does come with a gratutious warning. This film is not for the faint of heart.