‘Infinity Pool’ – Review

Infinity Pool pushes the boundaries in every way possible. Brandon Cronenberg’s latest film is a mixture of debauchery, bodily fluids, and a meditative look into human’s most primal instincts. 

This review contains slight spoilers for Infinity Pool.

Brandon Cronenberg’s newest film Infinity Pool is a hallucinogenic nightmare with extreme graphic imagery, eye-catching beauty, and truly every bodily fluid you could think of. The film is a wild, surreal, violent ride about privilege, mortality, and social status. The rules of the film are laid out early on in its runtime, but that’s part of what makes the film so hypnotizing; despite knowing what is to come, Cronenberg’s visual style is spellbinding. Combining the most intense violence and most graphic sexual imagery into intoxicating, fever-dream montages make for an all-consuming viewing experience. 

Set in the fictional Euro-somewhere state of Li Tolqa, Infinity Pool opens at a luxury beach resort, where James (Alexander Skarsgård) and his wife Em (Cleopatra Coleman) are staying to re-inspire James’ writing. After meeting Gabi (Mia Goth) and her husband Alban (Jalil Lespert), audiences can feel the lack of understanding between James and Em; the couple seems at odds with each other. Their relationship feels void of passion while James and Gabi have a palpable tension. The two couples venture outside the compound, which is not allowed for tourists, at Gabi and Alban’s planning. The score composed by Tim Hecker eerily hints at something dreadful to come as the couples depart the resort’s gates, which are heavily guarded and topped with barbed wire. 

Following quite the scene between Gabi and James, we can see the upper hand Gabi has over him. As the four tourists leave their outing, James strikes a person with his car, leaving a local dead. Once in police custody, James is offered a choice; accept execution or pay for a double of him to be created and executed. While this may seem like an easy decision, you can feel the choice is already awakening something sinister within James. Once James has decided to go with the double creation, which is a hallucinogenic, startling visual experience, we learn James must watch his double be executed. Following the brutal execution of his double, which he watched without flinching, James seems different; not traumatized as one may expect, but just off. Once James joins in Gabi’s group of drugged-up, rich tourists, we learn this doubling program is treated like a game for the wealthy. They come to Li Tolqa to commit crimes and get off scot-free as there are no rules for the wealthy as long as they can afford to make the double. 

Once James sees there are no consequences, a violent, downward spiral launches. You can see he no longer feels like the failed author without the upper hand like he did with his wife; he now has a sense of power in his life. The power he feels stems from acts of violence, while the ante continues being upped by Gabi and her friends. As more crimes are committed, more doubles are created, and more executions take place. Each crime becomes more violent and frantic. James begins to realize the power he feels may be a facade. By the time James realizes he may be a pawn for Gabi’s group of misfits, it may be too late. 

Infinity Pool shows the wealthy treating human bodies like disposable vessels to serve their primal instincts. People are shot, stabbed, urinated on, and yes, walked on leashes like dogs. While all of these disturbing acts may seem to exist just to get a rise out of the audience, Infinity Pool is truly showing a disturbing underbelly to what can happen to those who can grasp everything they want or desire. Not only is Cronenberg displaying the harrowing, ugly side of the ultra-wealthy behavior, but he also critiques the male ego. James was so egotistical, he left behind his wife of ten years for the power he felt from the ‘bond’ with Gabi. 

The world building craft on display is truly astonishing. Li Tolqa is fictional yet, in Infinity Pool we see a written language, license plates, government emblems, and uniforms, and we hear about cultural traditions of the natives (with some very creepy masks). While one could stop to wonder how this country that is described as poor could afford the science behind the process of creating doubles, the double process is never questioned within the film or by the audience. The unusual doubling science being abused by the wealthy tourists makes them even more abhorrent as their exploiting of Li Tolqa continues throughout the film.

Skarsgård and Goth both deliver impressive performances that are perfectly complimentary for one another. Skarsgård is subtle and delivering quite an internal performance; his performance is stellar as a pathetic man easily swayed. When James needs to come across powerful, Skarsgård is able to portray this physically and emotionally, but when he needs be more emotional and confused, Skarsgård perfectly nails this. Goth is as unhinged as she’s ever been on screen and is perfection as usual. Goth plays Gabi with such conviction as she’s able to seduce and manipulate everyone around her. Infinity Pool is grotesque, visceral, and not for the weak of heart, but perhaps Cronenberg’s most accessible film in terms of narrative plot. While there is a split-second scene with an offensive costume of Jewish people, the film is still a thrilling watch. Infinity Pool pushes the boundaries in every way possible. Cronenberg’s latest film is a mixture of debauchery, bodily fluids, and a meditative look into human’s most primal instincts.

Grade: B

Oscars Prospects:
Likely: None
Should be Considered: Best Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design

Where to Watch: In Theaters

Kenzie Vanunu
she/her @kenzvanunu
Lives in LA with her husband, daughter and dog. Misses Arclight, loves iced vanilla coffees.
Favorite Director: Darren Aronofsky
Sign: Capricorn

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: