NZIFF: Climax

1 hr. 36 min. | Rated R18 | for violence, sexual content, self-harm, drug use

Starring: Sofia Boutella

When Argentinian-born, French director Gaspar Noé (Irréversible, Enter the Void) stages a techno dance musical, you’d be naive not to be expecting LSD in the sangria. Noé’s new film, acclaimed at Cannes, is a brilliantly staged descent from dancefloor nirvana (captured in one enthralling single take) to paranoid inferno. The film, with its diverse cast of virtuoso dancers joined by Sofia Boutella, was choreographed and shot in a remarkable 15 days. Revelling in sex, drugs, dance and dread, Climax offers the year’s most visceral big screen experience.

“Noé may actually have a critical darling on his hands. And for good reason, as Climax is more brilliantly deranged, in its microscopic vision of society in collapse, than anything the director has ever inflicted on us. It is a party movie gone epically awry, a claustrophobic zombie-apocalypse potboiler in abstract, even a kind of ecstatically Satanic dancehall musical. And it finds, for once, the perfect application of Noé’s abrasive, showboating, hallucinatory style, locking the audience itself into the world’s worst collective freak-out, a drug-trip straight to the inner circles of hell…

Climax isn’t just 90-some minutes of sustained sex, violence, and panic – a rollercoaster ride of very bad vibrations. In the hedonistic, mass-hysteric implosion of the film’s surrogate family – a wide cross section of ethnicities and sexual orientations – one can see the portrait of a multicultural Europe tearing itself apart from the inside… He’s made a horror movie of uncommon topicality and resonance: a danceable nightmare for our now.” — A. A. Dowd, AV Club


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Poster of NZIFF: Climax