Yea, it's polarizing. I have read some negative reviews and for me, they tend to nitpick the film and over embellish things which mount more to gut rejection by the reviewer. This film will strike some people the wrong way no matter what. I try to check myself against overpraising any films. My youth has done it before and if a film has a good watch-ability on first viewing, it's easy to do so. However, with this film, I was thinking of many major films and how this film notches up so many things to a higher degree. The film is fully realized in pushing the style envelope, but the visual themes are there as well.
Gaspar Noe isn't subtle with themes. Irreversible wrote the themes on the wall. The story made the visualization way too understandable, but the visuals here cloud everything. Some points and scenes are understandable, but the film topples those easy ideas by constantly doubling back to add a thorn or unexpected wrinkle into the plan. The strategy is similar to vertical storytelling methods. The film has a logical plan which makes it go from point 1 to 2. I can identify themes, but Noe details the visuals so much that I cannot do justice to the deft of the film by just describing my best ideas of its intentions. It's a full experience film which is outside of easy critical notions. For me, Noe needs to be in full visualization mode all the time. Unless he goes full silent, I don't know how he gets beyond this film. I hope I am proven wrong.