Film FestivalsMovie ReviewsTIFF 2018: Climax Review

Keith NoakesSeptember 17, 2018

This will be one of many reviews during this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. If you would like to keep up with our content, click here.

Synopsis: From director Gaspar Noé comes a hypnotic, hallucinatory, and ultimately hair-raising depiction of a party that descends into delirium over the course of one wintry night. In Climax, a troupe of young dancers gathers in a remote and empty school building to rehearse. Following an unforgettable opening performance lit by virtuoso cinematographer Benoît Debie and shot by Noé himself, the troupe begins an all-night celebration that turns nightmarish as the dancers discover they’ve been pounding cups of sangria laced with potent LSD. Tracking their journey from jubilation to chaos and full-fledged anarchy, Noé observes crushes, rivalries, and violence amid a collective psychedelic meltdown. (a24)

Starring: Sofia Boutella, Romain Guillermic, and Souheila Yacoub

Writer: Gaspar Noé

Director: Gaspar Noé

Rating: R (United States)

Running Time: 95mins


There are definitely not many films like this one. It is that nature that won’t make it for everyone. If there was one way to describe the story, it would be a 95 minute acid trip. The story follows a group of young dancers who gathered in a remote building to rehearse. There were definitely plenty of personalities here if the interviews at the beginning (many of them appear in the trailer) and their interactions between each other were of any indication. Things start off well enough for them with an amazing one-shot dance party sequence that highlighted some great choreography and a killer soundtrack.

The dance party quickly got worse once the dancers realized that they’ve been consuming sangria laced with LSD and as you would expect, the film for the most part went downhill from there but in the best way possible. As the party devolved into complete chaos, all the feelings that may have been below the surface all exploded at once, pinning the dancers against one another. Their various delusions led to some craziness on screen to say the least and it was very entertaining to watch from beginning to end. What made it so entertaining was its unpredictability and also the way it was framed with amazing cinematography that somehow kept up with what was happening and made you feel like you were there.

In terms of acting, there wasn’t much to be had here which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The film was more about the surreal experience than the actual characters. Boutella was great and the most recognizable name amongst the cast of primarily non-actors, however, everyone else was great as well. Ultimately, your enjoyment of the film will rest on the likability of the characters and whether you can stomach what happens on screen.

Overall, this was an excellent experience that is hard to describe. It’s pretty much a 95 minute acid trip full of beautifully shot, well choreographed, immersive chaos with a killer soundtrack. While it won’t be for everyone, it is best seen blind.

Score: 9.5/10

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