The new film of the illustrious and technically and visually accurate Gaspar Noe gives the same effect and power that he gave with his previous film like the most controversial “Irreversible” known for its unflinching and brutally extreme portrayal of sexual violence, and the mind bending and psychedelic tripping “Enter the Void”, and the erotic drama “Love” which features unstimulated sex presented in 3D. Noe is pushing the boundaries not for only what is allowed to be shown in cinema but also for what the medium ‘cinema’ is capable of. Unconventional narrative structures, quasi-spiritual and mind bending visual that we wouldn’t even dream of, he continues his very signature filmmaking style present in this new film as well.
The film ‘Climax’ focuses on a group of young street dance enthusiasts who come together for a three day boat camp in an abandoned boarding school situated far away from the town. They finish their final group dance and set about celebrating their last night, gathered around a big bowl of Sangria. As the film progresses the atmosphere becomes electric and a strange madness overcomes them. It becomes clear that they have been drugged, however, it remains a mystery that why and by whom they have been drugged. In time transfixed by the hypnotic and increasingly electric rhythm of the music they struggle to restrain their neuroses and psychoses. Some of them feel to be floating in heaven, however, some believes themselves to plunged into hell, moreover, in-between all this, there are some who finds their inner self, their real beings come up without the reusation of the social reins, their monsters along with their fears and raises questions like, shall I be a good mother? Will someone ever maintain relationships with me, will someone love me? Who am I? I feel forbidden desires and more of this sort.
It is an extravaganza of dance, music, light, colours, chaos, and the most importantly panic. It is comparable to one 96 minutes long looming panic attack in a good way. The film reels the viewers in with a wicked-long dance numbers with blaring synth music which makes it enthralling to watch. The very opening scene is one of the long beautiful take that prepares the audience for the style that encompasses the entire film. Noe can make a shot last 15-20 minutes without making it a hindrance for the narrative. It takes real skills to set up such kinds of long and complex shots that last for so long and pull them off so flawlessly that the actors never miss up any line or break the continuity. His long takes engages you as an audience and then makes you feel as if you are also a part of the situation and it progresses naturally. While watching the film we are sucked into another parallel universe which is dark, dangerous, and intense. The film makes us realise that we are on a line that stands dividing birth and death, and we are going to die due to the insanity and our inner monstrosities.
There is no characters development, no metaphors, no message, no actual beginning nor end, no back story, no exposition, it’s just a visual exercise as well as an artistic display that human experiences. It’s aesthetically admirable and ethically questionable, its migration from heaven to contemporary hell, its downfall of human civilisation, and its realisation of savagery. It’s dance-inducing, dizziness-causing, headache-giving, nauseating, annoying, exhausting, musical, breath-taking, unharnessed and excessive, inhuman and filthy, harsh, blood-stained, colourful in high contrast, noisy thrilling, crowded-torturing-revenge seeking, nightmarish, abusive, intruding, shameful, horror, inversed, obscure, frosty and hot. It takes you to such a fucked-up death that nobody dares to watch it twice. Moreover, the Climax once again proves that Gaspar has a corrupt, sick, yet a genius mind.
The film derives its power from unsettling realism where images stumble through dark, disorienting hallways, the constant bass reverberating into the party’s celebration zones, and the echoes of the inevitable lusty talks that happen during the lull will ring familiar to any boner. The film grips you, holds and drags you through a tense story that takes you to an emotionally drenched journey which is equally horrifying thrilling, modern music and a visually LSD trip. It is incredibly innovative and engaging having no dull moment, from the opening dance sequence to the wonderful acting and tight script. The title card “Birth is a unique experience” remains in screen for some time, and apart from this, there are two more additional title cards that come almost subliminally, once in the opening credit and again near the end of the film which read “Life is a collective impossibility” and “Death is an extraordinary experience.”