Climax (2018) – Summary, Review (with Spoilers)

Climax (2018) - French Colored Title Card
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While the high that comes from the music and dancing is ecstasy, once the high comes down, Climax pursues shock value to keep you stimulated.

Director(s) Gaspar Noé
Written By Gaspar Noé
Date Released 3/1/2019
Genre(s) Dance, Drama, Thriller
Good If You Like Watching People Dance

Club Music

Having Your Mind Warped A Bit

Isn’t For You If You Don’t Like Weird Indie Movies
Noted Cast
DJ Daddy Kiddy Smile
Omar Adrien Sissoko
Lou Souheila Yacoub
Dom ?
Emmanuelle Claude-Emmanuelle Gajan-Maull
Tito Vince Galliot Cumant
David Romain Guillermic
Psyche Thea Carla Schott
Ivana Sharleen Temple
Selva Sofia Boutella

Climax Plot Summary (Ending Explained on Page 2)

In an inclusive French dance troupe, you will find men, women, and the androgynous. You’ll find people who are Black, Arab, white, gay, lesbian, bi, and more. Together, the almost 21 member group, including DJ Daddy, are prepping for a local and international tour. However, after approximately the third dress rehearsal there is a party. A party which leaves a handful of people dead.


The Choreography

Selva (Sofia Boutella) dancing with the rest of the troupe.
Selva (Sofia Boutella)

Climax may probably be the most f***ed up dance movie you ever saw, but also the one with the best choreography. For whether the actors are voguing, crumping, doing hip-hop dance, or styles I can’t identify, you may be left surprised by the quality of the performances. Yet, considering how important passion and movement between characters is in Noe’s films, perhaps the exemplary dancing should have been expected.

The Music

Often music isn’t taken note of for while it has its importance in creating tension or enhancing a scene, rarely is it to the point of being worth nothing. When it comes to Climax, on the other hand, you’ll likely want to look up if this has a soundtrack. Especially since, rather than have credits like most movies, the information about who did what, whose songs are in the film, are throughout the film which makes it so you can’t pull out your phone and do a quick search. Never mind write each down to trek through who made what.

But, what sort of blemishes this heading aside, the music of Climax is so good that it’ll make sitting in the theater as uncomfortable as going to a jukebox musical and not being able to dance to your favorite song. DJ Daddy pumps one good song after another, and while we’re told the characters are on something, there will come a point when you think it is just because the music is so intoxicating that they are all going mad.


Of The 21+ Characters, You May Only Be Able To Identify 9 – If That

Ivana (Sharleen Temple) during her interview.
Ivana (Sharleen Temple)

I recognize that every film isn’t going to make use of every last person on screen and give them a backstory filled with complex decisions which lead them to be met by us. However, this whole movie takes places in the same building, within a few rooms. So for there to be many characters whose names you probably can’t guess and, at most, you can identify as them liking anal sex, it seems kind of wrong.

On The Fence

The Overhead Camera Angle

I have mixed feelings about the overhead camera angle. On the one hand, as characters are dancing, it creates an interesting viewpoint of how the head barely moves as the body jerks all around, sometimes in a violent manner. Also, with the overhead camera shot, it gives a bit of a voyeur look to everything rather than people spreading apart for the sake of the camera.

Yet, with this being a dance movie, and the sequences being a notable amount of time, it does make you feel you are missing a bit of each move since you just see limbs flying about. For while death drops and certain moves make it so the overhead shot doesn’t take away from every last thing, it still requires some getting used to. Which, considering the dancing and music are the best things about the movie, could strongly affect you liking Climax.

When Not Focused On Dancing, And As The Movies Goes On, It Can Get Bewildering

As noted, we don’t really get to know most of the characters. At most, you’ll know there is a coke head amongst them, someone who has feelings for David, and someone who likes eating the butt like groceries. The inability to easily identify people makes it so when things get violent, the camera starts tilting and going upside down, and everyone is going mad, it throws you off a bit.

Now, for some, like with the music, it could be meant for you to experience what the actors are as your brain tries to adjust to the image not being right side up. But, again depending on your taste, the disorienting camera paired with characters who decide to just pee in the middle of the dance floor, standing up, could be a bit much for you.

Overall Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing) | Purchase, Rent, or Get Merchandise On (Amazon)

Climax, like Noe’s movies before it, is a bit polarizing. You have to have a certain appreciation for the madness of human psyche to get into it. Also, you must be someone who appreciates the ebb and flow of people non-verbally interacting for extended periods of time. For when it comes to Noe, it seems dialog is done when necessary and to push the story. If not, dialog is used for what bodies, looks, and other non-verbal means of communication wouldn’t work.

Leading to why the positive label: While definitely not for everyone, like Love, if given a chance, you will at least say you’ve gotten an unforgettable experience. One which will set a precedent for how much a movie can offer, and you’d be willing to receive or what is too much and seems way too niche for you. But, like Love, this is definitely worth checking out. Even if many characters lack development and it can throw your brain off a little bit.

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