Gaspar Noe's "Climax" will no doubt cause a lot of heads to spin, in both good ways and bad. Many of the reviews have mentioned how it is his best movie, I would have to actually make a case for "Enter the Void" to be his crowning achievement, a film that will stand the test of time. Suffice to say, critics went gaga for it at La Croisette. I really liked it but felt the excess finally caught up to it in its final few moments. That's all fine and dandy. As far as I'm concerned Noe has never made a boring film in his career, although his previous film, the 3D explicit sex film "Love," started to feel pedantic and dull in its second hour, and "Climax" is anything but boring.
Taken from a review I wrote at Cannes titled: "Gaspar Noe's "Climax": Vibrant dance movie and horrific bad-trip" (5.18.18)
"Gaspar Noe‘s Climax is split into two movies, both running about 45 minutes, both relying on risky, over-the-top camerawork and both heavily relying on an EDM soundtrack."
"The first half, one of the best dance sequences I have ever seen on film, feels alive and vibrant with cinematic prowess, it's the far better half. by then Climax feels like it's worth the hype it's gotten, a wildly breathless entertainment with single take Steadicam shots of pro, millennial dancers auditioning for a tour of some kind inside a modest-sized dance hall. The 45-minute dancing sequence is gloriously nuts. I really mean it, it makes you want to get up from your seat and join the party. The beauty of it is that there really isn't a specific dance style being used in unison by the youngsters, they just improvise and that's the beauty of it. Only movies can make you feel the way Climax does."
"The way cinematographer Benoit Debie’s cameras create the atmosphere, especially in the 15-minute opening sequence is riveting. My eyes were popped wide open, and that almost never happens. Characters are then revealed. There's the guy that claims he's had sex with most of the female dancers in the room; There are two other guys that tout their explicit sexual accomplishments; a woman who actually brings her kid to the party; etc."
"The second half. Oh boy, I have to mention that when the dancing occurs the dancers are drinking a sangria cocktail that was brought by a dancer, they start to severely bad-trip as they are dancing, and suspect that somebody spiked the drink. Although LSD is mentioned as a possibility, there is no way in hell it can uniformly make you feel the way it makes the characters in this film react. The drug is clearly predatory, my assumption is it's some kind of cocktail of hallucinogens that was added to the sangria. Alas, the horror portion of the film is upon us."
"Every dancer goes nuts. After the pure joy of the first half, this descent into a hell state is quite unnerving."
"Noe is trying to present to us what happens when you have the highest of highs and then go to the lowest of lows. The good vibes are totally gone when the freakout happens, Finger-pointing happens about who may have spiked the drinks, which leads to some fighting. Sofia Boutella is the anchor that leads us through this hell, which, I must admit starts to take its toll near the last quarter of the film, but before that Noe, whom I have loved in the past, especially his underseen masterpiece "Enter the Void," creates a breathless movie that will likely have major staying power for viewers."
A24 will release "Climax" on March 1st, 2019