When the new year started, many moviegoers were excited for the big upcoming tentpole releases such as Avengers: Endgame, Star Wars Episode IX, and John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum. Film buffs, or “cinephiles,” were also looking forward to a small wacky and overthe-top film called Climax, produced by independent film distributor A24 and directed by Gaspar Noé. Noé, who has made some fantastic films that are brutal, raw, psychedelic and crazy to watch, really comes into his own with this latest film. Climax is truly a brilliantly deranged masterpiece of horror. Released earlier this month, it tells the story of a French dance troupe that is rehearsing in an abandoned schoolhouse until someone spikes their sangria with LSD. This causes the plot to descend into a hellish drug-induced nightmare of sex, violence and visceral hallucinogenics, while also becoming an unhinged whodunnit.
I have been very excited for Climax for quite some time. Since its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival last year, it has received quite a bit of positive praise. To be honest with you, although Noé’s films do get explicit and brutal, I am still a big fan of this director. That being said, his films are not for everyone as they contain artsy imagery and cringe inducing scenes that not all moviegoers will take to heart.
As weird and eccentric as Climax may sound, it is a masterclass in filmmaking as it succeeds in making the audience totally uncomfortable and paranoid. It is one of the most anxiety inducing theater experiences I have ever had in my life. Though I would consider his 2009 film Enter the Void to be his best, this is equally as impressive from a visual and storytelling standpoint. The acting is so cerebral, breakneck and believable. Moreover, the dance choreography is jaw-droppingly fantastic. Out of all of Noé’s films, Climax is the most straightforward unlike Noé’s Enter the Void and Irreversible. Although this film does not follow the usual “three-act structure,” it is told in a way so that audiences can experience a beginning, middle, and end. Moreover, the cinematography is out of this world! I am a fan of long, uninterrupted shots (such as in Children of Men). Some of these incredibly choreographed sequences last for at least 15-20 minutes. Justin, a junior, calls Climax, “…a perfectly captured journey of a vivid nightmare. It was one of the most memorable and pulse pounding moviegoing experiences I have ever had.” This film is French Extremism at its finest!
Climax is easily my personal favorite film of 2019 so far. As a fan of weird experimental and “avant garde” cinema, I adored this film from start to finish. The acting is very real and chill inducing, the cinematography is astonishing, and the soundtrack is killer. Though this film is not for everyone, it really delivers. So far this film is in limited release in the NY and LA areas but is slowly expanding to more theaters!
By: John Bizub, Staff Writer
Featured Image: A photo from Climax that captures its intensity. (Photo courtesy of avclub.com)