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Posts Tagged ‘Gaspar Noe’

“CLIMAX” My rating: B-

97 minutes | MPAA rating: R

“Climax” may be the most accessible film yet from cinematic evil genius Gaspar Noe (“I Stand Alone,” “Irreversible,” “Enter the Void”). Which is not to say that it is easy movie watching.

“Climax,” like most of Noe’s output, is a celebration of perversity.

It opens with the closing credits (???) and an overhead shot of a scantily clothed and bloodied woman struggling through a field of snow; then shifts into documentary mode before becoming an energetic dance film and ultimately deteriorating into a paranoia-fueled nightmare.

A title card informs us that the story was inspired by actual events in 1996…but I’m not buying that notion any more than I believe “Fargo” was actually based on a real crime.

For 10 or so minutes we get talking-head documentary interviews with a bunch of young French dancers who have auditioned for a special troupe preparing to tour the U.S.A. With few exceptions they lack formal training; most appear to be  kids (all races and ethnicities) who learned their moves on the streets and sidewalks. Some of them are eager and ambitious; others a bit jaded and wary of their newfound legitimacy.

Noe then cuts to a long (like, 15 minutes) single-shot rehearsal in which the youngsters do an elaborate routine that allows for plenty of individual riffing (lots of spectacular hip-hop: locking, popping, cranking) all set to a deafening and hypnotic techno beat.

It’s exhilarating and wildly entertaining, and when it’s over the viewer — like the dancers themselves — is spent and ready for a bit of r&r.

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