Film Review: Infinity Pool | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Friday, December 1st, 2023  

Infinity Pool

Studio: Neon
Director: Brandon Cronenberg

Jan 26, 2023 Web Exclusive
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Brandon Cronenberg’s Infinity Pool includes a scene about 30 minutes into the two-hour film that is bound to be one of the year’s most disturbing and haunting sequences. Compared to the rest of the film, that scene seems family-friendly. In his sophomore feature, Cronenberg (son of iconic horror filmmaker David Cronenberg) proves that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, mixing his father’s signature body horror aesthetics and ideas about carnal desires with his unique reliance on synths and neon lights. The result: one of the most disorienting and shocking, if not completely successful, films in a long time.

Infinity Pool begins relatively calmly, introducing audiences to washed-up author James (Alexander Skarsgård) and his wife Em (Cleopatra Coleman) as they vacation at a luxurious resort in a fictional, dangerous country. When the two meet and hit it off another couple, Gabi (Mia Goth) and Alban (Jalil Lespert), the four break resort rules to sneak out for the day. After drinking too much and driving late at night, trouble arrives when James hits and kills a local farmer the couple are soon arrested.

At the courthouse, the police chief explains the country’s unique method of punishment. If the accused pays a hefty sum, they can commission a clone of themselves to be executed in their place. All they have to do is sit back and watch the execution happen. From there, James discovers the oddly satisfying feeling of being “reborn.” He starts spending more time with Gabi and Alban, who have experienced the same process, and begins to experience a life free from the consequences of his actions.

Above all, one has to respect Cronenberg’s ambition, constantly taking giant narrative and stylistic swings and usually coming up strong. The director maintains a distinct visual style throughout, using the tool of montage to splice disturbing images into one bloody mass, echoing the film’s ideas on animalistic and bodily desire. Regardless of how horrifying the situation on-screen is, it’s difficult to look away because Cronenberg knows how to command and keep the viewer’s attention, mainly through his usage of shock value.

With so much time spent on visuals, Infinity Pool’s plot is where Cronenberg comes up short. The film’s narrative is fascinating, allowing the director to realize his disturbing cinematic dreams distinctly and unforgettably. But, if you look too deeply into the story, it’s easy to notice a few too many plot holes and shortcomings. The film’s concept of cloning doesn’t make complete sense and isn’t very developed aside from a short speech delivered by the police chief during the film’s opening act. As the film continues, the script becomes so reliant on shocking audiences with unexpected twists that the story loses its momentum. By the final act, every character’s motivations are way too exaggerated and many of the story’s elements feel underbaked and stale. If the narrative was just as tight as the film’s style, Infinity Pool could have achieved much more in its two-hour running time.

Regardless, the film is wildly entertaining, even during the moments that feel shoved into the story. It’s difficult to imagine what Cronenberg’s original ‘NC-17’ cut looked like since the current version of the film already stretches the limits of its ‘R’ rating, filled with wild, minutes-spanning sex montages, so much fake blood, and truly unhinged performances from its cast. In other words, Infinity Pool is just like every other Cronenberg film (from son or father).

Author rating: 6.5/10

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