In Brandon Cronenberg’s (Possessor, Antiviral) Infinity Pool, James Foster (Alexander Skarsgard) is a writer looking for inspiration for his next book. He travels to a luxurious resort in Latoka with his wife, Em (Cleopatra Coleman) during a time when the small town is celebrating a festival. James meets a fan named Gabi (Mia Goth) who is staying at the same resort with her husband Alban (Jalil Lespert).
Despite being instructed not to, James and Em go outside the walls of the compound to spend a day in the countryside with Gabi and Alban, but while driving back to the resort, James hits a pedestrian with the car and kills him. After James is arrested, he’s given the opportunity to make amends.
Latoka uses a crimson pool to create physical doubles of international visitors who commit crimes and can afford the hefty cost of the procedure. The double is implanted with the same memories and believes they’re guilty during the execution. The catch is you must watch yourself die horribly. However, James gets addicted to murder, limitless sex, and dangerous law-breaking with essentially no repercussions.
Like his father David, Brandon Cronenberg explores several of the same themes in his first three films. There’s a fascination with flesh and sex, crazy science fiction technology, and the woes of finding yourself financially wealthy and yet completely bored with your life.
Infinity Pool is in the same vein as Cosmopolis and Map of the Stars where the rich have traveled abroad to do whatever they want to whomever they want.
It seems like nudity and sex scenes in up-and-coming films are becoming less and less common. If it’s deemed excessive, pointless, or irrelevant to the story, then actors seem less likely to do it because they’re just not comfortable doing that sort of thing. Brandon Cronenberg is one of the few directors representing just how horny people can still be in 2023.
Infinity Pool shows a lot with its countless orgies and Gabi gives James a handjob while showing everything from stroke to ejaculate. The sci-fi horror nightmare is about embracing your desires no matter how dark and twisted they may be. Showing the sins of the flesh is crucial to representing how demented these characters are and how far they’re willing to go to get what they desire.
The film is a bizarre, horrific, and kaleidoscope of inhumanity. Some may view the events of Infinity Pool as unnecessary or nonsensical, but the argument can be made that it’s quite the opposite. The characters in the film have enough money to not financially struggle for anything. They have nothing holding them back and they’ve probably already obtained an incredible career, the house of their dreams, or a car that could put six kids through college. It’s a bit like Hellraiser in a sense because what they crave, that insatiable appetite is never satisfied.
To be fair, the overall formula of the film is a group of rich tourists wearing disfigured masks killing, screwing, and being reprehensible in every way for two hours. What makes the film work so well are the performances of Mia Goth and Alexander Skarsgard.
Skarsgard’s performance is more layered. He loses little pieces of himself throughout the film, and it shows in his actions. He is horrified by the group he’s dragged into at first, but he either grows to adore it or can’t look at himself the same way ever again.
Mia Goth is crazed and already past the point of remorse when we’re introduced to her as Gabi. She essentially seems sadistic as the film progresses being fully content with multiple sex partners and dousing herself in other people’s blood.
But the second half of the film turns her into a full-on psychopath, and you eat up every second of it. Her deranged speech culminates with her riding on the hood of a car as she drinks wine and mocks Alexander Skarsgard as she waves a gun around. Goth is mesmerizing and as terrifying as ever in Infinity Pool.
Infinity Pool is an eccentric sci-fi horror filled with disturbing sex, crazy amounts of ultra-violence, and a sequence where Mia Goth breastfeeds Alexander Skarsgard. It’s super weird and obviously a different type of film that won’t appeal to the typical mainstream blockbuster crowd.
The film takes an interesting detour into what defines gluttony and to what extremes humans will undergo in order to feel hungry again when their stomachs are already bloated from overeating. Ambiguously haunting with bloodcurdling sensuality, Infinity Pool is not for the squeamish and yet such an impressive and bourgeois bloodbath for those who admire unusually unsettling cinema.
- Mia Goth
- Sex and violence with no restraints.
- A familiar story with new twists and turns.
- The ending is intentionally frustrating.
- Ambiguity is polarizing.
- Yet another film where the rich get away with murder.