Gaspar Noe's films have always had some sort of psychedelic touch to them. Movies like "Enter The Void" about a DMT-trip spiraling out of control, "Irreversible" about vengeance against a rapist and "Love" an erotic drama about a complex couple all have that psychedelic touch to them. Although none of these films match the psychedelic madness that "Climax" brings to the table.
Members of a dance troupe come together to rehearse in what looks like, an abandoned school hall. They celebrate their dance routines through partying and having a good time drinking an LSD-laced sangria that the dancers aren't aware of. As the night goes on, the dancers start to realize there's something wrong with the sangria resulting in them falling into the most intense trips of their lives. The group tries to find out who laced the sangria as the night progresses....before it's too late.
This is without a doubt Noe's best film in my eyes, as he showcases his talent as a committed director with his multiple one-takes, the gorgeous dance numbers, and the occasional Noe features such as random title sequences popping up. Gaspar's a troll, he loves to mess around with the viewer's head and that's exactly what he was trying to do with this movie. It's unsettling, uneasy and extremely gorgeous at the same time. The movie is definitely anxiety-inducing at a peak, almost like you're on the trip with the rest of the dancers. The one-shots are so captivating, Noe doesn't let the viewer have a moment to breathe it just keeps building the madness.
The movie begins setting up all the character dynamics around, there's gossip going around, people have love interests in the room, some dancers don't care for the others. It's an interesting bunch of characters that have set relationships in the beginning that start to dissolve as the conflict arises. "Climax" has around a five-page script and only one choreographed dance scene, meaning most of the film is entirely improvisation which is extremely impressive as for most of the cast this is their first movie ever. It's an impressive production and a frightening but engaging time to watch.
Climax has its mishaps with some scenes the drag on for a little too long, and some scenes will only ANGER the viewer to their very core. This movie is not for everyone, but it's 96-minute run-time is much more inviting than Noe's other projects. It's his most tame project surprisingly but it's his most captivating. Climax touches on themes of celebrating the present, claustrophobic social climates, paranoia, and the fear of un-expectation.
The movie raises hell within all these characters, killing their minds and trying to mend it through dance. The soundtrack provides a journey-like backdrop to the character's trips as the music keeps playing no matter the situation and only creates a bigger punch to the psychedelic grave the characters have dug up. It's a movie about how the dance truly never stops no matter the in-competent hell a mindset is in.