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Climax (2018)

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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
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420 ( 11)
4 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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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
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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 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

Country:

France | Belgium

Language:

French | English

Release Date:

19 September 2018 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Climax See more »

Filming Locations:

France

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Box Office

Budget:

€2,600,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$119,423, 3 March 2019, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$804,112, 11 April 2019
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The end credits appear 2 minutes into the film. Additionally, the main credits appear 45 minutes into the film and the title is revealed in the final 8 seconds. See more »

Goofs

While the movie is supposed to be set in 1996, which is confirmed by the clothes, the music and the lack of smartphones, the French spoken in the film is very much 2010s, with many anglicisms or other recent verbal tics heard throughout the movie. This is due to the improvised dialogue from the cast working off of a five-page script. 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

References The Mother and the Whore (1973) See more »

Soundtracks

Superior Race
Music data by Dopplereffekt
(p) & (c) 1995 Dataphysix Renormalon
By arrangement with Dataphysix
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Bonkers
9 March 2019 | by PopcornGrindhouseSee all my reviews

"Climax" is less of a film than it is a visceral experience, and that will immediately turn off a good population of moviegoers who will invariable dismiss it as "artsy garbage." If you're one of these people who can't stand films made by "artsy" directors, what are you even doing going to see a Gaspar Noé movie?

But whew. If you appreciate film or dance, you are going to be blown away by this masterpiece. This is "Step Up" on crack cocaine.

A group of young people who subscribe to an underground dance culture meet for a three-day weekend of intense rehearsal. On the final night, during their closing party, someone spikes the sangria, and well....best not to say much more.

The first 45-60 minutes of the film are made up of impeccably choreographed dance sequences that had my eyes glued to the screen like I had just rail-lined a bunch of Ritalin. Some may call this "boring" but I found it to be electrifying and mesmerizing. The music in the film is constant, like you're watching it in a nightclub instead of a theater. Electronic powerhouses such as Thomas Bangalter, Giorgio Moroder, and Aphex Twin contribute to the dazzling soundtrack. After the first dance sequence, which lasts about 10-15 minutes, I wanted to stand up and applaud. Then I forgot that I was in a movie theater.

I especially enjoyed the cast of characters, which reminded me so much of my days doing musical theater in high school. If you've done performing arts in either high school or college, you will appreciate "Climax" on an entirely different level. The awkward politics of being in such a troupe come out in full force -- while everyone is generally nice to one another, rivalries and furious envy exist in the shadows, in addition to cutthroat attitudes and the occasional best friend / power couple dynamic. When things go wrong after the sangria is spiked, these politics are blown up into a larger than life spectacle. It was a neurotic joy to watch unfold.

And boy do things get wild. The key theme once the action begins is pure, unadulterated panic. Gaspar Noé's trademark direction brings us back to the chaotic, irregularly lit sequences seen in "Irreversible." The action is so dense. Some keep dancing. Some commit acts of violence. Some have passionate sex on the dance floor. Your eyes and senses are overwhelmed and you have no idea where to look, until a fast camera pan takes you to a completely different part of the room.

Speaking of which, the cinematography is top notch (although that's a running theme in Noé's repertoire). You've got all kinds of shots here -- dutch angles, long cuts that contribute to the chaos, even slow inversions that make you feel as if you are in a fun house at the Jersey Shore. It's incredibly disorienting, nauseating, and a whole lot of fun.

While watching, I also noticed a lot of similarities to Aronofsky's "Black Swan." If you enjoyed that one, definitely check out "Climax."

The ending of the film seems less complete than it should, but it's really no big deal, and does not spoil or ruin the rest of the film.

This is one roller coaster I'd happily ride again, and I'd say it is destined to become a midnight cult classic. Keep on dancing.


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