TIFF18: Climax

A dance troupe’s rehearsal party degenerates into chaos in Climax. Based on real events that happened in France of 1996, a group of dancers have just finished a three day rehearsal and have begun a celebratory party. However, it isn’t too long until they discover that the punch bowl of sangria has been spiked with LSD. As the drugs begin to kick in, the true personalities and prejudices of the dancers begin to emerge.

The latest film from French provocateur Gaspar Noé (Enter the VoidLove) is a film that starts off like a Step Up film on acid, before literally turning into a film on acid. Starring a cast of mostly unknown dancers, save for the lead character Selva (Sofia Boutella), the story of Climax is told in two very distinct halves, as we get to know the dancers before and after the acid trip.

Those who enjoy highly choreographed dancing are probably going to enjoy the first half of Climax, which starts off with the dance troupe rehearsing their routine. Gaspar Noé also displays his technical prowess, with long tracking shots around the party. However, once the acid trip begins to kick in around the hour mark of the film, Climax starts to become the ultimate lesson in depravity, which was quite hard for me to enjoy. If anyone is able to seriously watch the second half of Climax without feeling a sense of repulsion at what is going on, they seriously aren’t right in the head.