In the mid 90s, 20 urban dancers join for a three-day rehearsal in a closed-down boarding school located at the heart of a forest. They then have a party, but a strange madness seizes them for the whole night. If it seems obvious that they have been drugged, they neither know by whom or why.
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The danger is not so much that a spectacle of shock would rile the viewer into an emotional fervor. The opposite seems more likely: inured to shock, the viewer would rather feel nothing at all in the face of abject cruelty.
“Climax” has much in common with “Irreversible” and “Enter the Void,” although “Climax” is also a weirdo acid-trip polemic (there’s that flag of France on the wall, a flag everyone mentions with uneasiness and disgust).
The sangria’s been spiked and everybody’s going nuts. Leave it to Gaspar Noé to take that silly, simple little premise and build an intense, invigorating, terrifying, politically resonant vision of Hell around it.
A curious mix of Dance Movie and LSD-induced Horror Film. I like dance, not so much horror. Regardless, I came for the cinematography of stylist Benoit Debie. This film showcases all of his signatures: hallways with weird lighting, spinning camera shots, and strange angles including from above where you may only see the tops of peoples' heads.
[UCI El Corte] Don't know what to do with this obscur objet (de) du désir... This felt like Johnny Guitar on acid. With a stalking camera eavesdropping on momentous decisions and younghood fuck-ups. Sex was substituted by dunno what, what's that monster that lies between sex and love, life and death? [Upside down shot reminded of a particular sequence in 'The Last of Us' between Ellie and Joel hanging upside down).
Disco Inferno. On one hand, there's the sense that "Climax" might be the slightest and most commercial film Gaspar Noé has ever made. On the other, it's such an effective cinematic rendering of hell I'm not sure that really matters. If last year's "Suspiria" left you craving a psychedelic horror movie where the dance choreography wasn't chopped up in the editing room, Noé has you covered with ample long takes.
An exhilarating kinetic experience is yielded by the physical movement of body, camera, and angle. A descent to the base of human desire conveyed by tunneled lighting and repulsive behaviour.
79/100 - Very Good (3.5)
Spectacular. Gaspar Noe's lastest provocation is a sublime creation mixing the world of dance into a drug induced examination of the basest of human nature. The cinematography of Benoit Debie and the editing of Noe and Denis Bedlow is quite magnificent. The largely improvised performances only add to the novel creation Noe has made here. Provocative and upsetting but fascinating as well.
This film mesmerizes like the dance number of undulating bodies we see in the opening scenes and is jettisoned to pure horror when the dancers lose total control of themselves when someone roofies them in hip hop Agatha Christie style. Destined to be a cult movie!
Vapid degenerates tear themselves apart. Loved it as a landscape of hell – the neon lights burning, the camera spinning through narrow hallways, the screaming, the crying, the modern dance. Though too self-indulgent towards the end, the final moments of ecstasy and horror were particularly irritating and anti-climactic (go figure). The vague political commentary seemed like an afterthought - flimsy and meaningless.
If you're planning to attend Gaspar Noé's propulsive, psychotropic, vision-of-Hell dance party (and you likely already know if you are), then you might as well catch it on the big screen! You won't find a more deranged or debauched experience in theaters right now (or possibly ever).