Climax is All Tease

Climax is an art film so bad it’s almost good. It’s a ludicrously self-absorbed experimental piece, with filmmaker Gaspar Noe indulging in pointlessly macabre and putrid musings of French cinema. Essentially nameless dancers gab and gossip about all manner of topics in a cavernous studio, from God to garrulous conversation. Men rib each other on sex and women rile each other over men, all of them never less than incredibly grating. Sofia Boutella is the closest thing to a protagonist and purely sympathetic character, caught between fellow dancers who resent her and a studio partner who won’t stop hitting on her. Still, sympathy is irrelevant once the sangria hits the fan and the spiked punch takes effect on these poor unsuspecting French people. Everyone is driven batshit crazy or dead and the ensuing chaos is morbidly entertaining if also excruciating in its pretension. Noe outdoes himself when photographing the troupe’s stunning choreography, fails himself when figuring out where to take it from there. The first twenty minutes tease a visual masterpiece, only for the following ninety minutes to lumber along with minimal dancing in sight. Climax is the only film I’ve ever seen where I think it would’ve been better served as a porno. As it is, Climax is an orgy of self-indulgence with little meaning or fun to make it all worth it.

Grade: D+

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