This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
olivia’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
wow........ i mean............ wow.......
a few people have told me that climax is gaspar noé's most accessible work, especially for someone like me who hasn't seen any of his other films. i decided tonight i was ready to take the plunge, as i'm not sure how many more films i'll be able to watch from my priority watchlist before i leave in a few days for a trip to spend time with my best friend. perhaps this was a mistake, to choose this film as a last hoorah of sorts, or perhaps it was my best idea ever. i'm still not sure.
i have a lot to say about this film.. much of it was deeply uncomfortable to watch, in a tantalizing, torturous, taboo, sort-of-amazing kind of way, if something can be all of those things at once. first of all, the cinematography, the color schemes (with a focus on the nonchalantly tacit usage of reds and greens: complementary colors and a good source of tension that doesn't have to be spelled out to be effective), and the camera angles were all absolutely gorgeous. brilliant, possibly some of the best and most unique choices i've ever seen. if the weeknd's high for this and the party & the after party songs were both made into a visceral, searingly lascivious and euphoric film, this would be the result. flames of carnality brand into your brain and rip you apart as a viewer. i imagine suspiria might be in a similar vein as this, which i haven't worked up the nerve to watch yet, but how could anything masochistically torment a watcher more than climax? i read the wikipedia for this film, and this was almost all unscripted and improvised and shot in like 15 days, which is both impressive and wild, and with reckless abandon. and the fact that so much of this film was shot in one long take is seriously masterful. also, having the credits in the middle of the movie was definitely weird and definitely a first for me, but i had a sinking premonition that this was less to do with the need for credits and more to do with the fact that everything was about to go very, very wrong.
overall this is an extremely dark piece, and i normally steer clear of anything labeled horror, so this was a big departure from my norm. i was very apprehensive going into this, as well as scared and downright violently anxious, which was a notably troublesome feeling to have going into the watching experience. but i'm really trying to push my boundaries and broaden my horizons when it comes to film, so i decided to bite the bullet. seeing that sofia boutella was the big name listed in this gave me hope that it couldn't be all bad, because i love her acting, and i tried to use that to calm my raging nerves. and let me say, her acting in this is absolutely phenomenal. unforgettable, even.
if only i had known what kind of garish neon nightmare i was in for.. what i saw unfold onscreen was a haunting attack of a spiderweb of sensory overload, woven with chilling and dizzying disarray, and i was the fly in the middle of this that the black widow was about to pull limb from limb and devour. the first scene is where i already knew i messed up in picking this, but i had to pay for it (couldn't find it anywhere else), so i was not about to waste my money by not finishing it. every time the camera glitched or static sizzled i jumped out of my skin. every time someone did something increasingly horrible as the story progressed i cringed, and all my organs seemed to internally clench and tie themselves into knots. this was just a generally terrifying film, not even a horror film i don't think. more of a psychological mind warp. like a sick carnival ride of excruciation that you may (or may not?) want to get off.
with all that being said (sorry, i know that was long-winded) i'm equal parts horrified and mesmerized, and shook to my core. and above all else.. against anything i would've predicted myself to think, even against my will, maybe... i love this film. it's a masterpiece. i'm not sure i can explain it, but the entire runtime was like endless suffering, and then when it was over i wanted two more hours. i'm confused at myself. but i can't deny, this is a 5 star film in my book. i'm truly blown away in a fashion i never have been before. i don't understand how this is lovable, especially to someone who shies away from anything even remotely in this ballpark, but this is incredible. also i can now say with assurance that i will NEVER be doing LSD, thank you very much, lol. if this is noé's most accessible work, what could the rest of his filmography be like? maybe i'll dare to find out.
(part of my priority watchlist of 2019)
(gaspar noé - ranked)