A vigorous wank brings us to Climax

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      Starring Sofia Boutella. In French, with English subtitles. Rating unavailable

      Boy, everything’s coming up Suspiria these days.

      First, we get the retina-scorching 4K restoration of Dario Argento’s 1977 classic—with colours so wild it feels like your eyes are on acid—then Luca Guadagnino’s high-test remake, and now this.

      We can consider Climax a cousin, given that an old VHS copy of Suspiria is conspicuously present in the 1996-set film’s opening scene, along with Andrzej Żuławski’s equally bonkers Possession and a few other culty titles used to curry the approval of writer-director Gaspar Noé’s intended audience.

      In another callback to Argento’s film, Climax is about a group of dancers who find their way to hell not because they’ve landed in a nest of witches, but because somebody spiked a bowl of sangria with LSD.

      But let’s back up a bit: after a pre-credit sequence introducing us to a cast of uniformly detestable characters, all of them signalling the neurotic vulnerabilities the film will subsequently turn against them, Climax explodes into an enthralling five-minute dance sequence, captured in an uninterrupted take that bleeds into a post­rehearsal party and the arrival of that fatal bowl of sangria.

      Viewed from a distance, what we then see is another 90 minutes of spectacular choreography, or the viscerally physical staging of all the film’s ensuing worst-trip-ever psychodramas, acts of violence, and deaths.

      Noé’s camera swoops through the studio and around these contorted, self-punishing bodies with equivalent muscularity and delirium, often upside down, locked in a sick pas de deux with a nauseatingly overamped EDM soundtrack.

      Sound fun? I liked it, but then, as the great Chuck Barris once said, “I like morgues.”

      As if it matters, among the ciphers employed here to flesh out Noé’s theatre of cruelty are a pregnant depressive, a soulless lesbian couple, two super horny and totally not gay black guys—and a child, also dosed, whose fate naturally yields the most from Noé’s evil genius.

      But it doesn’t matter.

      Garbled message about the sanctity of life aside, I think (who knows?), this is the Irréversible filmmaker in his native territory, where unmatched technical daring is put to the service of a sensation-addicted 14-year-old boy’s gleefully X-rated imagination.

      Two thumbs up (your ass).

       

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