Film Review – Climax (2018)

Title – Climax (2018)

Director – Gaspar Noé (Irreversible)

Cast – Sofia Boutella, Romain Guillermic, Kiddy Smile, Giselle Palmer

Plot – A group of French dancers have their night of celebrations ruined when they discover that the punch they’ve been drinking at their party has been spiked with a dangerous drug.

“Dance is everything, it’s all I have”

Review by Eddie on 24/06/2019

Renowned for his uncomfortable viewing experiences and boundary pushing narratives, Argentinian filmmaker Gaspar Noé is undoubtedly one of the most unique directors working in the industry today, with his bizarre and off-putting Climax well and truly likely to please diehard fans of the auteur.

Arguably his most accessible film yet (not a hard task when up against Love, Irreversible and Enter the Void) but also entirely the opposite to mainstream film-making, Climax may be billed as some type of horror experience and while there are horrific moments of shock value and unexpected occurrences, Climax is more of a fever dream of a film, that when combined with its off-putting structure and often dizzying feats of camerawork, creates an experience that is hard to pin down in words.

Confined in its duration to a French dance school that is hosting a collection of bright up and coming stars, who after days of hard work are looking to party the night away, only to find that their Sangria punch may not be the wisest choice of beverage, Climax takes its time to unravel its true identity as Noé feels no need to rush to get to the craziness that lays in wait, eager to take us off our guard and open our eyes.

There’s a large group of performers for us to meet here, with Sofia Boutella’s Selva what you’d call the films lead and all performers acquit themselves well to Noé’s kooky affair, that’s highlights include a number of impressive dance sequences that are both energetic and hypnotic while oddly terrifying and the films opening 40 – 50 minutes allows us to spend our time getting to observe and overhear these various characters interact with one another, blissfully unaware of what lays in store for them.

The horror, oddities and general all-round craziness that does come as the film rockets along to its “climax” is what lets Noé’s experience down, as while things are constantly keeping you wrong-footed and second guessing, there’s no genuine amazing revelations or sequences that bring what’s come before to full circle.

In some weird way it feels as though Climax could’ve gone further with some of its half-baked scenarios, plot-threads and horrors as you keep expecting the “big” moment to come but with all that had come before, including its quite thrilling opening segment, Climax ends with a whimper not with a bang.

Final Say –

Hard to describe in words, Climax is a totally unique and often dizzying experience that once more confirms Noé’s stature as a one-off talent but despite all its promise and teases, Climax never quite gets to payoff we think is coming our way.

3 power supply boxes out of 5

8 responses to “Film Review – Climax (2018)

  1. There were a handful of genuinely disturbing moments but shiiiiit there’s just so much filler in between them. I can’t imagine ever sitting through it again.

    • No this is most certainly a once watched and done type film. I kept waiting for a really solid finale but I didn’t think the payoff was to strong.
      E

  2. I love your reviews! And I love to see this passion of movies! What are some of really good foreign language movies that you’d recommend?? I’m into Spanish and Italian stuff lately so I would really like to experiment more foreign language movies, if you know of any?

  3. Though I think you’re right about plot, that was never the appeal here for me. The application of cinematic technique to evoke hysteria and hallucination was so darn effective that this blew me away. I also felt like the looseness made for fertile ground for analysis and interpretation.

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