CLIMAX – Gaspar Noé’s Bad Acid Trip Dance Party from Hell

Gaspar Noé is a visionary, some may say batshit insane, auteur of cinema. His movies mess with your mind, truly make you think and visually shock while impressing. Being French he does things on film that most American audiences would run from but you can’t argue with the fact that his films are unique and, most often, works of brilliance. He is most known for ENTER THE VOID, LOVE, and (personal fave) IRREVERSIBLE. His latest is a total mind fuck acid trip with a dance troupe’s end of year party. CLIMAX releases this Thursday December 6th in Australia from Madman Films on a limited release schedule. It is rated MA15+ and runs for 95mins. Check with local art-house cinemas for sessions.


Gaspar Noe's Climax Movie image
The Dancers




CLIMAX depicts the unhinged madness that takes over a dance troupe’s party after a punch-bowl of sangria is spiked with LSD. Beneath strobing lights and pounding music each dancer’s psyche begins to crumble, and creeping paranoia gives rise to a hallucinatory nightmare.

Art-house provocateur Gaspar Noé delivers an intensely deranged and lurid orgy of sex, drugs, and epic club music (featuring Cerrone, Daft Punk and Aphex Twin); taking us into the forbidden reaches of heaven and descending deep into hell.


Gaspar Noe's Climax Romain Guillermic and Sofia Boutella image
Romain Guillermic and Sofia Boutella



I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, I can’t say I loved it because it descended into a cacophony of crazy that just couldn’t hold my attention but it is good. CHAOS would have been a much more appropriate title than CLIMAX. The opening 15mins of CLIMAX are, however, fifteen of the best minutes on film this year. It is a dance troupe and they perform an orgiastic dance sequence to open the film that nearly had me giving a standing ovation. It is some of the best dancing I have ever seen, with Romain Guillermic a clear standout dancer, some of his moves break the rules of physics and human anatomy! The entire 10min scene is filmed continuously with no scene breaks, it took 16 takes to complete. I can’t imagine how exhausted they were after that, but it pays off in spades.

The opening dance scene represents heaven and what follows is their harmony and unity descending into what Noé actually dreamed as hell. The film is inspired by SUSPIRIA, SALO and other debaucherous films and books. It is made pretty clear during the intro. The audience views VHS interviews from the dancers, presented on an old TV with books and VHS stacked to either side, these books and VHS are the inspiration.

The list of achievements for CLIMAX is quite astounding. The entire thing was written, shot, edited and released in four months and all off a 5 page script. It only took 15 days to shoot and excluding the choreographed opening the entire movie is improvised. The film deserves awards for that alone.


Gaspar Noe's Climax Movie image
The Dancers



The representation of acid in this movie goes from mild micro-dosing to hardcore hellish tripping. From my experiences I have to say it is as accurate as it can be. I took a little bit of acid in my youth, on a couple of experiences we took too much. It didn’t end as bad as this but I did think a smashed car windscreen on the side of the road was diamonds and I shredded my hands filling my pockets with diamonds haha. This troupe of dancers probably takes 100 times too much acid and they decline straight to Dante’s Inferno.

Some scenes aren’t for the light hearted. I made a screening mistake and took my granny to this instead of a foreign film I thought I had RSVPd to. It wasn’t my ideal moment viewing an acid laden orgy while a woman screams in the corner because her hair is on fire. The film is a wonderful psychological study to what happens to people with heightened paranoia and hallucinatory visions. It declines into reprehensible disgusting immoral reality and its scary. Having a child also present was at times gut wrenching. The film doesn’t satisfy you in the end, you are left unknowing as to who survives and who dies.


The performances are superb. Sofia Boutella is the lead you will recognise. She was in THE MUMMY with Tom Cruise, the assassin with no legs in KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE and STAR TREK BEYOND. While a wonderful actress, she has also been a dancer for over 15yrs. She brings the film the familiarity CLIMAX needs. The rest are all actors I think more hired for their dancing skills, but my god those skills are impressive. I have started following Romain Guillermic online because I and the world need to see more of his dancing! Sharleen Temple was also a stand out for me, a tall Nordic woman who scared me. Although her pissing scene is clearly a bottle behind her back her character is mesmerising through her lack of reaction and action, she lives in her own world.


Gaspar Noe's Climax Sofia Boutella image
Sofia Boutella



CLIMAX will not be for everyone, for me it is worth it for the opening dance sequence alone. The music of the film is sensational as is the cast and hellish depraved decline of the characters while off their minds on too much acid. Gaspar Noé is an exceptional artist with film as his canvas. Do not be as stupid as me and take your Granny to this, this one isn’t for the faint hearted.





 owns, writes and edits Salty Popcorn and Spooning Australia. He is a movie, food, restaurant, wine, chocolate, bacon, burger and brussels sprouts addict. He is a member of the Australian Film Critics Association and has been in the  industry for 26yrs. Furthermore he loves watching people trip over and is Leonardo DiCaprio’s biggest fan. 

** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher. Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.