Film Review: Climax (France) is an orgy of gracefully demented brilliance, drenched in LSD

French enfant terrible provocateur film director Gaspar Noe is back with his physically-impulsive, boundary-pushing sex-and-drugs approach.

Film Review: Climax (France) is an orgy of gracefully demented brilliance, drenched in LSD

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Film Review: Climax (France, ) is an orgy of gracefully demented brilliance, drenched in LSD

French enfant terrible provocateur film director Gaspar Noe is back with his physically-impulsive, boundary-pushing sex-and-drugs approach. His next two films were Enter The Void, which applied his approach towards the afterlife to dizzily psychedelic effect, while his last film Love, which revolved around the portrayal of sex, had a mixed critical reception as critics and audiences were getting a bit bored with Noe’s tendencies; he seemed to be wearing himself out due to his lack of filmmaking innovation, despite having the film formatted in 3D. Now, we have his latest project, Climax, which is a psychedelic dance horror film that is set in one night, with the largest cast Noe has assembled, entirely with talented dancers with little to no prior acting skills

With the fantastic premise, a thankfully short runtime, a sparse script, a short film schedule of 15 days and the combination of all things mentioned with Noe’s approach, Climax is bound to be one hell of an experience. Will the film live up to Noe’s reputation as a provocateur once again? Now let’s get into detail as to why Climax is Noe’s best film in a long time, which is a funny thing to say since in interviews, Noe was disappointed by the unanimous praise his film had received, as he expected a lot more people walking out of his film. We see the vast cast of dancers, introducing themselves in a quick montage of testimonials, sketching the characterizations with efficiency and mirth while Noe shows the influences of his film via a pile of books or VHS cases like Andrzej Zulawski’s Possession, Dario Argento’s Suspiria and many others

His assured control of the slow-burn build up until the hysteria starts works wonderfully, as the film has a first half that is incredibly lively, buoyant and jovial to the point that Noe has the nerve to insert the cast credits signifying the halfway point of the film and ironically the complication of the story. It is quite doubtful that Noe was going for anything meaningful or metaphorical here considering that in interviews, he said that most of the film was improvised from the introduction of the film to the inclusion of the French flag. The only established actor in the film is Boutella as Selva, and she delivers a fantastic performance that goes from exuberantly jubilant to amazingly intense to wildly hysterical to almost laughably pensive in such a smooth fashion

The entire film is like that to the point that it’s almost as if Noe had a drink of the sangria himself, since his work hasn’t felt this exuberant and vibrant since 2009’s Enter the Void.

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