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TIFF 2018: Climax Is The Ultimate Bad Trip

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Who’s Behind It

Writer-director Gaspar Noé, the seasoned provocateur behind a string of divisive shockers including Irreversible, Enter the Void, and Love.

Who’s In It

A group of experienced dancers and/or actors that includes Sofia Boutella, Romain Guillermic, Claude Gajan Maull, Kiddy Smile, Giselle Palmer, and Souheila Yacoub.

Who’ll Love It

Fans of dance movies—that are nothing like Step Up. If you don’t mind subjecting yourself to harrowing party sequences that could lead to serious injury or even death, this is the movie for you.

What It’s About

Loosely based on a true story, Climax follows a dance troupe that gets together for a night of revelry that goes completely haywire when their sangria is spiked with LSD. Once the hallucinations start to take hold, these dancers become irrationally violent, inflicting harm on one another—and themselves. We also witness some deeply irresponsible parenting and a general sense of unbridled inhibition.

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Why You Should See It

When word got out that Enter the Void director Gaspar Noé was making a film about an extended group acid trip, the creative potential seemed unlimited—and Climax certainly gets off to a strong start with a series of unconventional character introductions and some intricately choreographed long take dance sequences. However, once the drugs kick in, a sense of missed opportunity follows close behind.

Rather than offer us access to the characters’ psychedelic subjectivity, Noé takes a more sober look at this drug-fuelled debauchery. The result is a surprisingly dull (if relentlessly hyperbolic) party movie that plays like an alarmist anti-drug film, a kind of Reefer Madness for accidental LSD users. That said, there’s no question that this will become a popular topic of conversation among fans of extreme cinema, so if you fit that description, you’ll definitely want to make time for Climax.

When You Can See It

A Midnight Madness selection, Climax has already had its late night TIFF debut. However, those seeking the ideal festival-ender—in terms of title, if not content—should catch the Scotiabank Theatre screening on September 16 at 10 p.m. Check out the trailer below.