A troupe of French dancers celebrate their end of rehearsals in a remote, snowy retreat. As they dance the night away, it turns out that someone has spiked the punch with LSD. Mixed with exhaustion and mass paranoia, violence and recriminations quickly ensue as the dancers lose their grip on reality.
…an experience, an assault on the senses in much the same way Aronofsky’s ‘Mother’ and Lars Von Trier’s ‘Anti-Christ’.
Director Gaspar Noé’s films are an acquired taste. Debuting with the memorable ‘Irréversible’, Noé’s subsequent films are frequently made up of beautiful youths, bright colours and pounding dance floor beats. Long, floating steadi-cam shots drift around waiting for insight / pathos to land in front of the lens. And like his many of previous movies, it can be a hit and miss affair.
Proudly displaying his stylistic references as video jackets and book spines on screen, we can see that ‘Repulsion’ and ‘Suspiria’ are Noé’s latest touchstones. Sadly though stretching out the bug-eyed depravity of ‘Repulsion’s’ Isabelle Adjani across a full hour, quickly wastes any initial shock value. With all the screaming and rolling around, the hunt for party’s poisoner takes on a primal frenzy where each character turns on each other. Broken up by full screen titles extolling existential mantras, ‘Climax’s’ insight quickly collapses under the weight of its wafer thin plot.
In the end, like Noé’s other movies, ‘Climax’ is an experience, an assault on the senses in much the same way Aronofsky’s ‘Mother’ and Lars Von Trier’s ‘Anti-Christ’ were. And whilst ‘Climax’ does succeed in creating a palpable, claustrophobic atmosphere, its buck-shot approach to story-telling veers around as wildly as its paranoid cast.