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Film Review: Gaspar Noé`s “Climax” (2018) ★★★★


What would happen if, for instance, you lock a group of people in a remote area, secretly feed them a drug (LSD in this case) and see what happens next? Just the idea itself appears so inhumane, senseless, and terrible to even have it cross any mind. “Climax”, written and directed by Gaspar Noé, is a straightforward examination of human behavior, its limits, ability, and how far they are able to go in order to be qualified as not normal. What happens in the entire film is surreal and even horrifying. But if that is what we need to do to observe the reflection of human behavior tested under harsh circumstances, then it’s preferable to let it be.

“Climax” has no particular plot which you may see in other films. It takes place in an empty school building somewhere in a remote area of France. The year is 1996; it has its own rules, principles, and perspectives that dictate to its own generation. French dancers are about to rehearse, dance and enjoy their time. However, what happens is another day at work turns into chaos being spread by madness caused by LSD that was laced with sangria, the drink of their night. When they realize something is not right about their behavior, nightmarish hallucination and craziness fill their terrifying experience when due to the drug they cannot discern between what is real and what is not.

The entire film is about experience. What the viewer is being put through is something only Gaspar Noé could do. All the dancers that we met – Lou, Ivana, Eva, Rocket, Riley, David, Shirley, Omar, Psyche, Jennifer, Alaia, Dom, Cyborg, Rocco, Kyrra, Bart, Gazelle Taylor, Sila, Serpent, Emmanuelle, and Selva are extremely talented. The first dance scene, which lasts more than ten minutes, is a pure display of beauty that can be delivered only by a true artist. However, by the time when you reach towards the end, everything you saw at the beginning will disappear, as the only thing you will want is to escape. But you, as all the characters you will follow throughout, will be trapped not just in a remote area but will be held by a strange influence as hostage until the last credit rolls.

In the end, there’s a lot which can be said about “Climax” and it being extraordinary is one of them. Somehow, Noe’s piece might make the viewer feel uncomfortable, shaken, and a bit confused. And that’s the whole idea of “Climax”. It was not made to please an average viewer. It made for those who like experimental cinema, a cinema that tackles humanity, humans and their approach to life in a darker way. It explores the level of normality in people and why the same normality does not work when we cross the line. That said, “Climax” can be used as another way to define a failed trust in people and how they cope being under the influence of heavy drugs. And just one thing, to conclude it, I would like to assure that you would not like to be around them when they are in search of themselves….

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