Gaspar Noé’s Climax is an hour and thirty-seven-minute dive into a feverish dance party complete with LSD, violent thrusting, and enough violence to make the film feel as if it were four hours long. Nothing about this experience can be described as comfortable. If anything, it took every fiber of my being not just to walk out (would you blame me). However, Noé’s latest release has an oddly hypnotic quality to it. Maybe it was the constant thumping of the base and the use of a bright color palette, but the more terrifying things got on screen, the more exciting Climax became.
Perhaps that’s what Noé was striving for? Climax certainly does put on a display of listless twenty-somethings who are driven more by where to get their next coke hit than any semblance of responsibility. With every poor decision they make, circumstances become worse for the collective group. To make matter worse, it appears someone in their circle of trust thought it would be a hoot to spike their punch with LSD.
As the drugs begin to take over their decision making, Benoît Debie’s cinematography begins to take center stage. Debie’s made ample use of handle held camera shots to emphasize the descent into the hell which unfolds. By using those close-up shots, the audience sees the conflict they struggle with and the demons which dominate their lives.
While the dance numbers are indeed on another level, I’m not exactly sure what type of audience A24 hopes to attract with this release? Perhaps they are seeking to give this artist a platform, but there’s not enough positive elements in Climax which warrant any recommendation from this critic.