Directed by: Gaspar Noé

Written by: Gaspar Noé

Starring: Sofia Boutella, Kiddy Smile, Roman Guillermic, Souheila Yacoub, Claude Gajan Maull

Rating: [3.5/5]

Never has a complete descent into madness look so artful. Through its nonstop visceral filmmaking, Gaspar Noé takes the audience on a ride showing the breakdown of humanity, as it exposes carnal desires. 

A group of French dancers rehearse a very sophisticated and raw dancing number on a winter night. They prepare for an after-party they’ll have at this gymnasium, where they all drink some sangria. After some of the dancers begin to act strange and get irrationally agitated, it’s discovered that the sangria was laced with LSD. The dancing group resort to accusations of who spiked the drink and collectively lose themselves. 

This film personifies a nonstop and unrelenting nightmare with individuals losing all rationale. Once the nature of the punch becomes known to the dancers, they immediately start trying to investigate the possible suspects all while facing the side effects of the drug. A true recipe for disaster and exactly what occurs in Climax. Having not seen director Gaspar Noé’s other works, after watching this film, it appears he strives to be quite the provocateur with his storytelling. Climax provides plenty of upsetting imagery and does so with a ferocity that refuses to let go. The film undeniably accomplishes its goal with the use of tracking shots, as the dancers continue to dance while others do heinous acts. 

It shows that when circumstances present themselves, humanity will break down into carnal actions and desires. How often do people try to excuse their actions due to being under the influence of alcohol or drugs? Using these substances do not change a person, but brings forward who they hide to be. Throughout all of the madness, people try to take advantage of others in a physical or sexual manner. Feelings that were under the surface before the drinks were consumed, reveal themselves in a violent manner. 

This entire experience could be interpreted as characters in a purgatory-like existence and those pushed out fall into hell. The film provides that reading with the contained nature of the setting. It takes place in a gymnasium of what looks like a school. Everything occurs either in the gym or in other rooms in the building. The outside of the building goes beyond what the audience can see, but people are banished out there when the group believes they are responsible for spiking the drink. These individuals also each have some sort of darkness to them. The film opens with each of the dancers being interviewed about what they think about a variety of topics. They speak with such purity, but once a wild card enters the system the true nature of these people becomes prevalent. It shows through the actions committed throughout the film. 

Climax may be a bit off-putting with some of the sequences that occur throughout the film, but it successfully creates a nightmare of a circumstance. A visceral viewing experience that makes you feel the music and the purely physical nature of their dancing. Incredibly vivid and hellacious in its execution.

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