TIFF Review: ‘Climax’ is Gaspar Noe’s Best Film Till Date

Climax is familiar territory for Gasper Noe. Controversial. Bold. Experimental. Dizzying. Climax is everything that you would want to in a Gasper Noe film — and the some. The only difference, this time he is also musical, which only ends up elevating the film. Many people question the reason as to why experimental cinema should be encouraged. To them, I say, watch Climax.

Noe gained worldwide fame (or ill fame) after Irreversible. A film that many hate; and as many love. It created a furore when it first premiered. Surprisingly, Climax has been much warmly received in comparison. Not that climax is any less controversial, but it seems like critics have come to expect the unexpected from Noe.  And that helped several, including me, to go into the film with an open mind and come out with a smile. Yes smile! Not just me, but I saw several other critics smiling when after the lights came on. The reason many of us were smiling because we were amazed by the audacity of Noe to have pulled off a film that has no right even being remotely fascinating. How on earth can someone blend EDM, drugs, dance, suspense, blood, sex, incest and still create a coherent film? But by using the same tricks he has used in his previous films — that is by involving audiences in the scene on the screen rather than the story — Noe keeps you engaged from beginning to the end.

Climax is about a troupe of young dancers who gather in a remote building to rehearse a dance performance. Following an unforgettable opening performance, the troupe begins an all-night celebration. But that soon turns into a nightmare as the dancers discover the sangria that they have been drinking was laced with LSD. What follows is absolute chaos and mayhem that end in a devastating climax.

While I am sure many will be repulsed by the film, I was engrossed right till the end. Initially by the captivating dance routines — magnificently choreographed and amazingly well-shot — and later by the sheer madness that ensues. Noe surely was in an experimental mode — as he always is — when he made the film, but little must he have known that his crazy experiment will actually turn out to be his best film till date. Two final notes. First: The mystery of who actually put LSD in the sangria drink is never answered in the film, but if you are smart enough and watch the film closely, you will know the answer. Second: If you want someone to never touch drugs in their life, show them ‘Climax’. It is the best anti-drug film ever made!

Rating: 4.5/5

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