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 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 technical tour-de-force, an unabashed act of aggression, and a surprisingly resonant exercise in what might be termed visceral moral philosophy. A vigorous dance rehearsal segues into an LSD-fueled orgy of bad behavior and mad disinhibition. Proceed with caution.
It feels rare to see a nuanced dissection of the effects of drugs on screen. The real-life rollercoaster results tend to get lost in translation, too often played as a comedic subplot or tragic death sentence. Noé’s dancers perform physical and mental intoxication with a heterogenous, visceral honesty.