Saturday, 4 August 2018

Climax: NZIFF Review

Climax: NZIFF Review

Where the hell do you start with Gaspar Noe's latest?

Climax is a sensory assault, a nervy, twisting, paranoid horrifying wet dream of cultivated chaos.

Centring on a bunch of dancers who are coming to the end of a retreat somewhere in Paris' forests, the film's electrifying from the start.
Climax: NZIFF Review

As the dancers wind down and party, things start to go wildly awry with all of them having some kind of collective freak-out that builds to epidemic levels.

Really, that's it for plot - but Climax is not really about plot.

Opening with a scene of someone staggering through the snow via way of an aerial shot, and then launching into credits and a claim that this happened in 1996, Noe's unsettling from the start, but also visually arresting.

Following a series of vox-pop interviews with the dancers, Climax continues with a one take electrifying dance sequence that was done in one take and is simply incredible - a co-ordinated collection of limbs that choreographs brilliantly before segueing in to the post-party.

With pulsing EuroBeat music pounding away, the film's descent into darkness is wildly evocative and yet utterly terrifying. Quick cuts capture dialogue here and there as various groups splinter, and various conversations cover the usual machinations and mentalities of parties.

But as the dread of what's transpiring kicks in, Climax really grabs, a vision of hell spiralling through the corridors of the dance floor. It resembles some kind of purgatory as delusions bubble up, emotions spill out and everything escalates in utterly terrifying fashion.

Unlike most of Noe's back catalogue, this film's perhaps nowhere near as provocative (aside from its A French Film and Proud Of It title boards) as you'd expect, but its mental toll is much more horrific.

Feeling like a cinematic claustrophobic vice for the most part, Climax is simply a director in complete control of the chaos from beginning to end - whether you're in for the ride is upto you, but it's a celluloid trip of dancehall dread that won't let go from the most basic of premises.

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