Climax

Climax

A new nadir for Gaspar Noe, in a vacuous film that seems to attempt a synthesis of certain scenes from Von Trier's <The Idiots> and Grandrieux's "A New Life," failing desperately at anything nearing the poetic clamor and pandemonium of either of those films. Since the apex of <Enter the Void>, Noe's filmography has *irreversibly* declined toward a mishmash of pastiche and sublimated forms of kitsch, and <Climax> is as repetitively bad a time watching (better yet, enduring) as whatever drug trip the characters are on. There feels like there's genuine dislike verging on outright animosity toward the actors/characters here (the reasoning behind the scenario is never quite given other than to see young scuzzy dancers suffer in one form or another), and the film's structure, divided between pretentious high school literary references and even more pretentious one-shot voyeurism, *climaxes* in having the camera turn upside down while the actors "act crazy" as if they were forcibly gesticulating scenes from a Hieronymus Bosch painting. (It doesn't help either that Noe, bereft of ideas, directs Sofia Boutella to give us a super-abbreviated, pathetically trivialized version of Isabelle Adjani's legendary freakout in <Possession> in one of many glib references to other, far greater films.)

Here and there, Godardian intertexts are sprinkled in between shots to give the aura of intellectual seriousness. Somewhere or other, <Climax> could have been greatly improved had Noe structured it as a horror film (I imagine a scenario resembling Michele Soavi's <Stagefright>), but Noe seems perpetually uninterested in the aesthetic opportunities genre provides, despite the tremendously opportune restrictions the horror genre would have granted his technical virtuosity. By this point, Noe has little to prove beyond good taste in music and camera virtuosity for its own sake, and it's no surprise that he has gone back to copying even himself in a rehash of the credits roll for <Enter the Void>. It says a lot when the credits are more interesting than the film itself.