West Coast Premiere
Opening where you end on the obligatory Final Girl as she trails blood instantly assures you that French-gent-provocateur Gasper Noé is proudly committed to fucking with you. Hard. Simply put, there is nothing to prepare you for the relentlessly immersive onslaught that is CLIMAX.
The setting is France in 1996, Daft Punk has just redefined music and the dance community has responded accordingly with a visceral new language that is as violent as it is beautiful. Noé takes his time introducing a troupe interviewing each under the gaze of a static camera so that by the time he places them in the remote lodge, we’re simultaneously invested and concerned for their well being. Noé follows with a dance sequence as jaw-dropping as anything committed to film, and yet, it serves as merely the appetizer to the all-out assault of the main course that follows.
As the troupe wind down celebrating their battle, they lose grip on individual and collective realities courtesy of an acid-spiked punch. What was pure hedonism is usurped by absolute horror as Noé reframes his setting to Dante’s Inferno, placing each of his protagonists in a chamber of his own hellish creation. The descent is fast and dark as a Lord of the Flies-scenario manifests, pushing every participant to the very extreme of their human nature: the dance party is reframed as an all-out war party with truly terrifying results.
Sofia Boutella, best know as razor-legged villainess of THE KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE returns to her roots with a breathtaking turn as Selva, the troupe’s manager. Surrounded by France’s hottest dancers (including Claude Gajan Maull, Vince Galliot Cumant and Thea Carla Schott) and under Noé’s gaze, she excels on both ends of the spectrum as an electric performance artist and an actor without fear or compromise. It’s what’s demanded of the director and the role and is impossible to envision anyone else realizing it as fully as she does.
CLIMAX is an astonishing experience in which Noé has simultaneously delivered something remarkable and reaffirmed his commitment to hurting you as he fucks you. You have been warned.
Director: Gaspar Noé
Egyptian Theatre: Hulu Screen