7.1/10
34,935
291 user 268 critic

Climax (2018)

Trailer
0:57 | Trailer
French dancers gather in a remote, empty school building to rehearse on a wintry night. The all-night celebration morphs into a hallucinatory nightmare when they learn their sangria is laced with LSD.

Director:

Gaspar Noé

Writer:

Gaspar Noé
Reviews
Popularity
462 ( 93)
4 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Irreversible (2002)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Events over the course of one traumatic night in Paris unfold in reverse-chronological order as the beautiful Alex is brutally raped and beaten by a stranger in the underpass.

Director: Gaspar Noé
Stars: Monica Bellucci, Vincent Cassel, Albert Dupontel
Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A French drug dealer living in Tokyo is betrayed by his best friend and killed in a drug deal. His soul, observing the repercussions of his death, seeks resurrection.

Director: Gaspar Noé
Stars: Nathaniel Brown, Paz de la Huerta, Cyril Roy
Suspiria I (2018)
Fantasy | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A darkness swirls at the center of a world-renowned dance company, one that will engulf the artistic director, an ambitious young dancer, and a grieving psychotherapist. Some will succumb to the nightmare. Others will finally wake up.

Director: Luca Guadagnino
Stars: Chloë Grace Moretz, Tilda Swinton, Doris Hick
Love II (2015)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Murphy is an American living in Paris who enters a highly sexually and emotionally charged relationship with the unstable Electra. Unaware of the effect it will have on their relationship, they invite their pretty neighbor into their bed.

Director: Gaspar Noé
Stars: Aomi Muyock, Karl Glusman, Klara Kristin
I Stand Alone (1998)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A horse meat butcher's life and mind begins to breakdown as he lashes out against various factions of society while attempting to reconnect with his estranged daughter.

Director: Gaspar Noé
Stars: Philippe Nahon, Blandine Lenoir, Frankie Pain
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Steven, a charismatic surgeon, is forced to make an unthinkable sacrifice after his life starts to fall apart, when the behavior of a teenage boy he has taken under his wing turns sinister.

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Stars: Barry G. Bernson, Herb Caillouet, Bill Camp
Crime | Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The story follows Jack, a highly intelligent serial killer, over the course of twelve years, and depicts the murders that really develop his inner madman.

Director: Lars von Trier
Stars: Matt Dillon, Bruno Ganz, Uma Thurman
Antichrist (2009)
Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A grieving couple retreat to their cabin in the woods, hoping to repair their broken hearts and troubled marriage, but nature takes its course and things go from bad to worse.

Director: Lars von Trier
Stars: Willem Dafoe, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Storm Acheche Sahlstrøm
Carne (1991)
Short | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

After a dreadful incident coupled with an ungovernable paroxysm of violence, a butcher will fall into a downward spiral that will burn to the ground whatever dignity still remained in him.

Director: Gaspar Noé
Stars: Philippe Nahon, Blandine Lenoir, Frankie Pain
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Three independent stories that reflect some of the many faces of love. Elvira and Alfonso have been engaged for ten years in courtship, during which they have kept their chastity zealously,... See full summary »

Director: Julio Diamante
Stars: Julia Gutiérrez Caba, Agustín González, Lina Canalejas
Dogtooth (2009)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Three teenagers live isolated, without leaving their house, because their over-protective parents say they can only leave when their dogtooth falls out.

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Stars: Christos Stergioglou, Michele Valley, Angeliki Papoulia
Hereditary (2018)
Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A grieving family is haunted by tragic and disturbing occurrences.

Director: Ari Aster
Stars: Toni Collette, Milly Shapiro, Gabriel Byrne
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sofia Boutella ... Selva
Romain Guillermic Romain Guillermic ... David
Souheila Yacoub Souheila Yacoub ... Lou
Kiddy Smile ... Daddy
Claude-Emmanuelle Gajan-Maull Claude-Emmanuelle Gajan-Maull ... Emmanuelle (as Claude Gajan Maull)
Giselle Palmer Giselle Palmer ... Gazelle
Taylor Kastle Taylor Kastle ... Taylor
Thea Carla Schott Thea Carla Schott ... Psyche
Sharleen Temple Sharleen Temple ... Ivana
Lea Vlamos Lea Vlamos ... Lea
Alaia Alsafir Alaia Alsafir ... Alaya
Kendall Mugler Kendall Mugler ... Rocket
Lakdhar Dridi Lakdhar Dridi ... Riley
Adrien Sissoko Adrien Sissoko ... Omar
Mamadou Bathily Mamadou Bathily ... Bats
Edit

Storyline

In the mid 1990's, 20 French urban dancers join together for a three-day rehearsal in a closed-down boarding school located at the heart of a forest to share one last dance. They then make one last party around a large sangria bowl. Quickly, the atmosphere becomes charged and a strange madness will seize them the whole night. If it seems obvious to them that they have been drugged, they neither know by who nor why. And it's soon impossible for them to resist to their neuroses and psychoses, numbed by the hypnotic and the increasing electric rhythm of the music. While some feel in paradise, most of them plunge into hell. Written by Anonymous Two

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for disturbing content involving a combination of drug use, violent behavior and strong sexuality, and for language and some graphic nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »

Country:

France | Belgium

Language:

French | English

Release Date:

19 September 2018 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Climax See more »

Filming Locations:

France

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

EUR2,600,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$119,423, 3 March 2019

Gross USA:

$817,339

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,027,391
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

In the sequence when we see 'audition tapes' on a TV screen, also various books and VHS covers are in the frame, that provide clues to Gaspar Noé's inspirations: Visible are titles that reference Luis Buñuel, Dario Argento and Romanian philosopher Emil Cioran, famous for his ultra-negative views on life and humanity. See more »

Goofs

Even though the film is set in 1996, the song Windowlicker by Aphex Twin is featured, which wasn't released until 1999. See more »

Quotes

Selva: Oh, you're so good! Thank you, thank...
Psyche: You liked it?
Selva: I'm so happy. I couldn't be happier.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening logos start at around 9 minutes in. The actual opening title sequence starts around halfway through the film. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Sardonicast: Sardonicast #31: Us, The Dark Crystal (2019) See more »

Soundtracks

Electron
Written, Composed by Richard Brook and Simon Hartley
Performed by Wild Planet
(c) Published by Warp Publishing
(p) 1992 Warp Records Limited
Courtesy of Warp Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A disgusting, morally reprehensible piece of insane genius
8 October 2018 | by BertautSee all my reviews

Climax, the latest film from Argentinian-French provocateur Gaspar Noé, is a disturbing, depraved, disgusting, and debauched piece of absolute insane genius that I thoroughly adored from beginning to end, and which I never, ever, want to see again. Lord of the Flies by way of Heronimus Bosch or Zdzislaw Beksinski, Climax is what you might get if you mashed-up Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma (1975), Mother! (2017), and Step Up (2006); a dance movie that morphs into a horror film, which then attempts to show the audience a literal hell on Earth. With Climax, Noe takes the audience and characters further than ever before. Granted, there's nothing here to rival The Butcher's sickening attack on his pregnant wife from Seul contre tous (1998), or the near-unwatchable rape or fire extinguisher scenes from Irréversible (2002). However, whereas those films feature sudden moments of barbaric violence punctuating (relatively) quotidian narratives, in Climax, the oppressive feeling of dread is unrelenting. So even though the acts of violence are not, in themselves, as extreme as some of those in Noé's back-catalogue, the cumulative effect is far worse. Obviously, this makes the film something of an endurance test, even at only 96 minutes, but this is precisely the point - Noé wants the audience to be utterly exhausted by the end, and he employs numerous confrontational and disorientating techniques to achieve such.

Set in the winter of 1996, and allegedly based on a real incident in France that year, the film focuses on a dance troupe putting the finishing touches to a performance before embarking on a national tour, to be followed by a series of dates in the US. Apart from the opening shot, and a couple of quick shots towards the end, the entire film is set in the rehearsal space; an isolated and unoccupied hall. Upon finishing rehearsals, the troupe starts to party, as we primarily follow Selva (Sofia Boutella), the group's choreographer. As the night wears on, it becomes apparent that one of their members has spiked the sangria with powerful LSD, with each of the troupe descending into their own personal Hades of paranoia, aggression, and/or uninhibited sexuality.

In lieu of any kind of title card or opening credits, Climax begins with an abstract and non-descript shot of pure white. So visually indeterminate is the image (it could literally be anything) that at the screening I attended, most people (myself included) didn't even realise the film had begun. It is only as a girl staggers into shot from the top of the frame that it becomes apparent we are looking directly downwards onto a snowfield. The girl is in great distress, leaving a trail of blood in her wake. After a moment, she collapses onto the snow, her body convulsing, unable to go any further. The camera then revolves upwards along the vertical-axis through 360 degrees, a shot anyone familiar with Noé's work will immediately recognise. Revealing the bare branches of a few nearby threadbare trees, the movement immediately establishes that we are in an isolated location in the dead of winter. By the time the frame returns to its starting position, the girl's struggles have fashioned a hideously disproportioned and asymmetrical red-tinted snow angel. Theoretically, this could be the cliched opening scene to any generic slasher movie. However, the striking composition and the economy with which the shot conveys so much information serve to betray the fact that this is not the work of an anonymous journeyman for hire, but is instead the meticulously composed opening salvo of an auteur who knows precisely what he's doing.

A moment later, the entire closing credits roll (upwards, obviously), right to the copyright information. With no closing credits at the end, the audience is allowed no transition from the film to reality. As the film ended, the lights immediately popped on, with no music to play us out, no darkened theatre to recompose ourselves. Indeed, to enhance the sense of discombobulation for which Noé is obviously striving, the last 15 minutes or so of the film are literally upside-down. The audience is thus placed in the same position as the characters - the absence of closing credits and the inverted image create a sense of confusion and discomfort, just as the film is depicting the surviving dancers coming out of their drug-induced mania and back to the real world. As he attempts to do throughout the film, Noé places the audience directly into the psychological reality of the characters.

After the opening scene, the film then cuts to a TV screen showing the dancers' audition interviews, which do a terrific job of establishing the differing characters, as do the dialogue scenes after the rehearsal but before the LSD has kicked in. The third scene is the dance number, which is easily the best dance sequence I've ever seen on film. Shot in a continuous 20 minute take, this grants the scene a sense of real-time immediacy and in-camera verisimilitude which one can usually only acquire from a live performance - this isn't something constructed by an editor from a series of individual set-ups, this is something literally happening before our eyes.

Thus ends the first section of the film. The second, and much shorter, section is the dancers engaged in conversation with one another (and, in contrast to the first section, is made up of a multitude of edits eschewing any sense of match-cutting). The third, and longest, section sees them realise the sangria is spiked, attempt to find out who did it, and the chaos that ensues when the drugs take hold. These three sections (dance, conversations, and drugs) roughly correspond to the three books of the Divina Commedia - Paradiso, Purgatorio, and Inferno. However, in the poem, the order is Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso, charting the ascension of the soul from the Inferno of Hades to the Paradiso of heaven. In the film, the movement is in the opposite direction, as the Paradiso of the harmonious and unified perfection in the dance sequence gives way to the calm Purgatorio after the consumption of the LSD, but before it has taken over their reason. Finally, they descend to the Inferno. In charting this allegorical journey, one of the most immediately interesting things is the obvious visual contrast to the dance sequence. Whilst the dance sees the group acting in unison, all of a single mind, the third section of the film shows them fragmented and in disarray, each individual driving towards their own purpose, whether it be paranoia, hedonism, or what they believe they need to do to survive. The harmony of the troupe has given way to the horror of individualised disintegration and psychological collapse.

We then witness a girl's head being set on fire, a pregnant girl being kicked repeatedly in the stomach, a girl slashing her own arm and face, a contortionist contorting to the point where he literally splinters his own bones, a child locked in a room full of cockroaches, a man scratching his chest to the point that it turns into four red bloody streaks, public urination, lesbian rape, incest, and suicide. As the veneer of civilisation is stripped away, the characters devolve before our eyes; some become concerned only with sex, others with violence.

It would certainly be easy to dismiss Climax as thematically empty, arguing that the brilliant camerawork and pumping soundtrack serve only to cover up the vapidity at its core, to argue that the depravity and excess is not in the service of any grand universal point, but simply to show attractive young people tearing one another apart. However, there is some kind of political point buried beneath the carnage; the dance sequence takes place in front of a massive French flag, whilst the credits declare, "A French Film. And proud of it." Perhaps related to this, the troupe is made up of a cross-section of Europeans, and in the explosion of excess hedonism and hysterical mayhem, does this cross-section of ethnicities, genders, and sexual orientations come to represent European multiculturalism tearing itself apart? Is Noé saying that if France continues to accommodate such a diversity of disparate cultures, chaos will ensue?

In relation to this, perhaps tellingly, Omar (Adrien Sissoko), the person who is initially blamed for spiking the sangria, is Muslim. So, is Noé saying that in such a multicultural milieu, with fear of Islam at a high, it's very easy to blame everything on the Islamic "Other". Additionally, Noé depicts the dance scene with such reverence and awe that this kind of social critique, barely straddling the line between patriotism and xenophobia, doesn't seem to sit especially comfortably. Not to mention that Noé himself is an immigrant - he was born in Argentina, moving to France when he was 13.

The fact is, I don't have a clue what Climax is about. Nor do I care. Nor is it important. I take it for what it appears on the surface; an incredibly technically proficient depiction of a contemporary Inferno, as aesthetically impressive as it is morally questionable, as enthralling as it is disturbing, a film of unparalleled barbarism, that also stands as one of the most extraordinary cinematic achievements in recent years. It's a work of genius. Twisted, sick, depraved genius, but genius nonetheless. It disturbed me like no film in at least a decade, and I couldn't get it out of my head for days afterwards. I absolutely loved every single crazy minute of it. And I don't ever wish to see it again.


365 of 474 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 291 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed