CLIMAX (Movie Review)

Released: May 13, 2018
Written and Directed by: Gaspar Noé

Starring: Sofia Boutella, Romain Guillermic, Souheila Yacoub, Kiddy Smile, Claude-Emmanuelle Gajan-Maull, Gisele Palmer, Taylor Kastle, Thea Carla Schott, Sharleen Temple, Lea Vlamos, Alaia Alsafir, Kendall Mugler, Lakdhar Dridi, Adrien Sissoko, Mamadou Bathily, Alou Sidibé, Ashley Biscette, Mounia Nassangar, Tiphanie Au, Sarah Belala, Alexandre Moreau, Naab, Strauss Serpent

Stream on Amazon Prime

★★★☆☆ | yay or nay or can’t say

Dancers move to chaotic and energetic LSD-fueled choreography that mesmerizes and destroys

Take two Excedrin and call me in the morning. You may need them if you are unaccustomed to long hours of thumping club bass, EDM and a discernible room full of cigarette smoke, so aptly depicted you begin to smell the thick of it wafting through your television. This is Gaspar Noé’s highly debated film Climax—a movie that transpires in a single location and sometimes even in a single 42 minute-long shot.

The French filmmaker Gaspar Noé is best known for creating experimental and demanding bodies of work—all of which strive to inform a kind of hell to varying degrees of success. For those unfamiliar with his 2003 film IrréversibleRoger Ebert called it “a movie so violent and cruel that most people will find it unwatchable.”

As for Climax, the extreme violence we have come to associate Noé, is shed for a less tactile subject furthering his experimental style while exploring drug use. This is not to say the horror of incessant screams won’t make the person in the next room over wonder what the hell you are watching.

Climax begins with an interview of a group of professional dancers. They are introduced through an open-ended format of questioning then a rough cut transports us to the next scene, a dance studio where we linger for the remainder of the film. It is here we witness a dance so chaotic and energetic it can only be said to mesmerize.

This is the best of Climax. And once it is over the best is gone too.

At the completion of the intricate dance number, the members hang around to celebrate their successful choreography with sangria punch, lewd conversation and then, more dancing. Unbeknown to anyone or almost anyone—the sangria has been spiked with a ferocious hallucinogenic.

For the summation of the film we witness the effects of the drug and its unraveling of the dancers-making them paranoid, belligerent and even dangerous unto themselves and others.

You will find buried messages throughout the film—messages that are an important part of the dialog today. Credit where credit is due, Gaspar Noé is not afraid of experimenting with intriguing concepts even in the face of failure. But sometimes it is the failure staring us down at the end. That does not mean we should ever stop trying.


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