I was shocked to discover that I was actually … touched. Climax is a small miracle, and if this is Noé going soft (for him, of course), that might actually be a very good thing for the movies.
What are people saying?
What are critics saying?
Gaspar Noé’s remarkable psychedelic ride is his most focused achievement, a concise package of sizzling dance sequences and jolting developments that play like a slick mashup of the “Step Up” franchise and “Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom,” not to mention the disorienting cinematic trickery of Noé’s own provocative credits.
It’s all insane and intoxicating, and what’s perhaps most remarkable is that, ultimately, the ugliness and excess is legitimized by being in the service of an elaborate and ecstatically realized celebration of dancing as an art form.
This is exhaustingly exhibitionist cinema, that wants to be looked at for the sake of being looked at — for the crispness of its moves, not the complexity of its concepts, and that can get wearying after a while.
You may emerge from Climax, as from a full-on club night, feeling shattered and asking yourself what was the point of it all. But there’s no denying the mastery of Noé and his team, and the extravagant talent of his cast.
The film is freaky, experimental, sometimes hilarious and unnervingly intense.
Climax works, at least when it’s willing to be a human drama. But then it sinks in that you’re watching “Fame” directed by the Marquis de Sade with a Steadicam.
It is as if Noé has somehow mulched up the quintessence of dance, coke and porn together and squooshed it into his camera. If that sounds horrible, then yes it is, but also, often, demonically inspired.
Noé has created a churning, repellent, wildly sexy tanztheaterwerk of pure Boschian decadence and derangement. It’s nice to have him back.
Pairing his usual boundary-pushing sex-and-drugs fixation with a vital presentation of wildly exuberant dance and movement, Gaspar Noe has made a film that’s seductive in its rhythms and bold visualization of his young dancers’ sometimes beautiful, other times brutal somatic expressiveness.