Gaspar Noe (originally from Argentina and based out of France) renders The Climax in paranoid, pulse-pounding fashion set in the mid-1990s with a mainly untrained cast, extemporized and shot in half a month.
A prelude of what is an intuitive assault on the senses includes Parisian dancers and their impulse into the art form and where it can lead them. An uninhabited school has this company clamorously rehearsing what may be esteemed club music throbbing with a tricolor flag in the background. Afterwards gossipy chatting precludes a potent hallucinogenic drugging of their sangria that begins to offer what may begin to feel like a technically bracing, if dramatically stagey conflagration of, say, Lord of the Flies and Requiem For A Dream.
From the milieu hardly a whiff of the personalities and interrelationships materializes with individualism amped up given the fragmented voluble nature up against a more cohesive rhythmic gambol even with exhilaratingly realized images before a darker stylized descent encroaches. In the moment, The Climax has its mind-altering pleasures complements of the macabre, twirling lensing of Benoit Debie. A premonitory parable can provide a discountenance like when choreographer Selva (Sofia Boutella of Atomic Blonde, Kingsmen: The Secret Service) uniformly maneuvers in a hallway. Other notables include Souheila Yacoub’s dismayed dancer Lou, disc-jockey/vocalist Kiddy Smile and double-jointed Romain Guillermic.
A superficial physicality mostly progresses with little unpredictability in the narrative and characters as Noe introduces discomfiting elements within the familial unit. But, they can’t tantalize or generate the same kind of interest that occurs from a receptive standpoint which choreographer Nina McNeely does to help drive the trippy transgressions unfolding in terrible choices and cruelty. A sometimes clever cinematic convulsion obfuscates thematic resonance when it comes to youth, lifestyle, fashion and ambition. A narrow purgatory instead of a sharply laced pot of gold which boasts vivid neon-infused wild close-ups is pending at the end of an acid rainbow.