By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)

From Gaspar Noe, the bold director who made Irreversible and Love, comes what is probably his wildest experience yet. More of a curiosity piece, rather than an insightful investigation of human behavior, Climax is a rather entertaining and bizarre experience that plays out like a strange and surreal nightmare. It is a film that aims to shock and disturb with realistic horror elements, and one that mostly succeeds in doing so. Not for the faint of heart, Climax is a movie that people will probably watch once and will probably not want to experience again.

Set in the 1990s, Climax follows a night in the lives of a dance troupe who rehearses in an old abandoned school and decides to cut loose with a party/dance afterward. After performing their dance routine for manager Emmanuelle (Claude Gajan Maull), the dancers attempt to blow off some steam by dancing for fun, munching on some snacks and drinking sangria. Their seemingly harmless attempt at diversion begins to go awry when some of the dancers start feeling the hallucinogenic effects of the LSD that some unknown culprit added to the sangria. As the night devolves into a nightmarish hell of chaos and mayhem, inhibitions disolve and violence runs rampant.

Though I have found most of Gaspar Noe’s work amazing, deep, and wonderfully provocative, Climax is a movie that mostly plays out obviously and only succeeds at offering shallow observations. That said, Noe, cinematographer Benoit Debbie, editor Denis Bedlow, and the phenomenal cast do a superb job of creating this nightmare of an experience and make it feel real. Though the writing and character development leave much to be desired, the amazing and disturbing imagery and the tremendous acting mainly make this movie succeed at certain level.

The movie features superb acting by an extraordinary cast which includes Sofia Boutella, Romain Guillermic, Souheila Yacoub, Kiddy Smile, Claude Gajan Maull, Giselle Palmer, and so much more. The dancing and choreography in the film is so damn captivating and exciting to watch, as well. It is a very bizarre film overall that probably won’t appeal to all audiences, but fans of Gaspar Noe will probably love this movie. Fans of wild and disturbing horror will probably find much enjoyment in Climax as well.

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