Gaspar Noé is the living embodiment of the adage that nothing exceeds like excess, a filmmaker whose works are designed to overwhelm the senses, events to be experienced (or endured) rather than narratives to be followed. A Dionysian dose of decadence and depravity, Climax is cut from the same cloth as its predecessors, pivoting between dynamic dance sequences and scenes of almost unbearable ugliness, often with a simple swoop of the camera.
Opening with what would normally be the closing credits (the opening titles, meanwhile, appear at the midpoint, cleaving the film into two halves), Climax covers a single night in the short life of a French dance troupe that hopes to take its still-embryonic show around Europe and America. The party that follows their rehearsal quickly devolves into chaos, however, when someone spikes the sangria with LSD and the accusations start flying. Captured by Noé’s restless camera, the ensuing freak-out is soundtracked by an array of techno bangers augmented by moans of ecstasy and cries of anguish. When it’s over, some of the participants will be dead, few will still be standing, and all will forever be changed. Oh, and the tour of Europe and America is probably off.