Climax

Critics Consensus

Challenging and rewarding in equal measure, Climax captures writer-director Gaspar Noé working near his technically brilliant and visually distinctive peak.

71%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 162

69%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 412
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Movie Info

From director Gaspar Noé (Irreversible; Enter the Void; Love) comes a hypnotic, hallucinatory, and ultimately hair-raising depiction of a party that descends into delirium over the course of one wintry night. In Climax, a troupe of young dancers gathers in a remote and empty school building to rehearse. Following an unforgettable opening performance lit by virtuoso cinematographer Benoît Debie (Spring Breakers; Enter the Void) and shot by Noé himself, the troupe begins an all-night celebration that turns nightmarish as the dancers discover they've been pounding cups of sangria laced with potent LSD. Tracking their journey from jubilation to chaos and full-fledged anarchy, Noé observes crushes, rivalries, and violence amid a collective psychedelic meltdown. Starring Sofia Boutella (Atomic Blonde) and a cast of professional dancers, Climax is Noé's most brazen and visionary statement yet.

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Critic Reviews for Climax

All Critics (162) | Top Critics (27)

  • In "Enter the Void," he used this effect to mirror the experience of a hallucination. But here, it seems the bad boy is running out of tricks, and he's hammering your skull just to prove he can keep doing it.

    Mar 15, 2019 | Rating: C | Full Review…
  • You just have to figure out if it's a ride you want to take.

    Mar 12, 2019 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…
  • Alas, with the notable exception of the empathetic Boutella, the cast of Climax consists primarily of dancers who are not actors.

    Mar 8, 2019 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • Cranking up the decibels, and with nausea-inducing camera work, it's a sensual overload that will have your heart pounding.

    Mar 8, 2019 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Joseph Walsh

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Surprisingly, hell turns out to be not very interesting when seen close up, and "Climax" is a bad trip that crashes before its characters do.

    Mar 6, 2019 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

    Ty Burr

    Boston Globe
    Top Critic
  • Noé has made what might be his most accessible and, yes, tender film to date, teasing the idea of heavenly bliss - before heading straight to hell.

    Mar 5, 2019 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Climax

  • Mar 02, 2019
    Consider me shook. Few modern directors can fill me with the full spectrum of emotion like Gaspar Noe. Like Lars von Trier and Darren Aranofsky, he loves to push buttons, annoy, and manipulate his audience. I've visibly angered some people after exposing them to his films, and I could certainly see why they felt that way. I won't deny that there were a few times in Climax where I was quite put-off, but like any well-rounded trip, the highs get so high that the lows are devastating. Purported to have taken place in France in 1996, the incident performed in the movie is a manic dance party where a troupe of contorted, gyrating euro-trash get an unexpected psychedelic nightmare when someone slips LSD into the sangria bowl. It's an electric kool aid acid test gone terribly wrong. The first half of the film covers the heavenly and joyful peaks with a dynamic series of one shot sequences that groove and fly along with the dancers. The second half is a hellish dreamscape, an assault on the senses, and a disorienting plummet into insanity and degradation. It becomes like a rave culture update to The Exterminating Angel as the dancers collectively devolve into sputtering animals, attacking each other in orgiastic fits of violence and passion. For a film with such a premise, the biggest surprise to me was that there is no attempt at simulating the hallucinatory experience like other 'head'? films. That's not to say that it isn't trippy as hell, there's just not much superfluous effect added to what's in front of the camera. Cinematographer Benoit Debie's unmistakable camerawork is the demon to Emmanuel Lubezki's angel, and one will pick up strong vibes of Irreversible in the second half. The visual rollercoaster is bolstered by a soundtrack I could have handpicked myself. It's slightly anachronistic for the setting ("Windowlicker'"? came out in ~'99), but I was dancing in my seat, banger after banger. As audio-visual experiences go, it's unrelenting and made me feel dirty, but I liked it.
    K Nife C Super Reviewer
  • Dec 15, 2018
    Gaspar Noé pulls us into another one of his maddening nightmares of hell, creating a technically ingenious and insanely uncomfortable experience with intense colors and a camera that seems almost like a character itself in the way it moves towards absolute hysteria as well.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer

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