Skip to content

{Sundance 2023} Infinity pool – review

January 25, 2023
Courtesy of Neon

Following Possessor, Brandon Cronenberg continues to wander the darkest recesses of his consciousness with the delightfully deranged Infinity Pool.

Neon’s horror-thriller opened at Sundance last week, as Mia Goth walked the red carpet with co-star Alexander Skarsgård on a leash. A playful entry that no doubt prepares you for the movie, as if anything could really equip an audience for such repulsive and mind-blowing beauty.

This account is more accessible than Cronenberg’s predecessors to some extent. In a way, it allows the story to mess you up all the more. Leave him. Let the new film from the Canadian writer-directors take you on a journey to Li Tolqa, a dream destination where waters are clear and morals are decidedly murky.

Infinity Pool presents a dystopian escape and a moral dilemma

It is in this hostile paradise that James Foster (Skarsgård) attempts to overcome his writer’s block by vacationing with his well-to-do wife Em (Cleopatra Coleman).

With a poorly received novel under his belt, the author has no intention of writing. The dangerous prospect of venturing outside the exclusive resort is more appealing to him than staring at a blank page (can you blame him?). All the more so if he is escorted by the seductive actress Gabi (gothic), stroking his ego, among other things, during a day at the beach. Meanwhile, his partner, famed architect Alban (Jalil Lespert), and Em are relaxing a few feet away.

Returning from a swim in an isolated cove, a tragic accident takes the life of a local resident. Dealing with authorities in a police state is daunting, and James is considering a stiff sentence for manslaughter. When a dystopian escape gets him off the hook, the payoff ushers in hyper-personal hell and a reflection on class and responsibility.

Read also MCU Movies: The Right Order For Watching Movies Might Surprise You

Brandon Cronenberg’s Body Horror Elements Push The Boundaries

A flawed game of Chinese boxes, Infinity Pool builds on the themes of Possessor, not extending an ounce of mercy to James, or the audience. A relentless ride that sets aside fundamental questions of identity and ethics, Cronenberg’s third outing is an agent of chaos.

Like his second film, Infinity Pool explores dissociative behaviors, doubles and the idea that individual evolution can go in circles.

It does this through ultra-violent sequences and sexual hallucinations that are well worth its R rating. A trippy journey to the center of our being, the film takes detours to unexpected places through transformative drug-enhanced orgies. Beneath strobe lights, eager autonomies twist in a thrilling attempt to push the limits of our flesh, with Cronenberg unfolding his array of body-horror imagery that will prove hard to shake. These same kind of binary images will have conservatives clenching their pearls and yelling at the clouds.

Mia Goth and Alexander Skarsgård enthusiastically play depraved

Skarsgård and Goth gleefully lean into their characters’ perversions as we watch them in horror and exhilaration.

The Swedish actor delivers a layered ride as James, staring at his moral compass degaussed but tempted by the possibility of sheer, occasional cruelty with no consequences to bear.

Yet it’s Goth who runs the show with his wide-eyed ambiguity slowly descending into utter misalignment. It’s the star. She so naturally owns the role of Gabi, oozing sexiness and danger in an over-the-top, heady mix that makes us even more eager to watch Ti West’s MaXXXine than we were when Pearl came out a while ago. months.

Read also Raya the Last Dragon: Disney’s New Animated Movie

Infinity Pool and the “Eat the Rich” Cinematic Canon

If you’ve seen the Possessor finale, you know Cronenberg isn’t subtle (if not, please fix that), which is why Infinity Pool’s flimsy, if grotesquely funny, anti-capitalist satire leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. Much like the undercooked idea that Li Tolqa could be a proxy for our planet, battered and torn apart by humans who carelessly inhabit it as if it were a playground where free passes are practically infinite.

The rights of Gabi and her friends are strictly linked to their status. Audiences desperately want to see these characters get their payoff while wondering what that unlimited freedom would look like. As you search for a difficult answer, the film reminds you that money can buy anything and could even manufacture a whole new consciousness to corrupt and kill as you please.

It’s a grim outlook for sure, and one through which the film breaks away from recent, naive entries in the “Eat the Rich” canon. Acting as revenge fantasies, these latter films argue that there could be some form of retribution for the wealthy.

Cronenberg suggests the opposite. Infinity Pool is a nightmare scenario of immorality, cynically and dejectedly assuring that nothing will trouble the wealthy, unlikely to perish at the hands of the working class. The Cycle of Power Imbalance will always find new offenders who look a lot like the old ones, the film suggests.

And yet, the film also unexpectedly provides a glimmer of hope in its final moments. In its final desolation, Cronenberg’s last suggests that playing a game with no rules can ultimately eat the rich until there’s nothing left. Better not hold your breath, though.

Read also Fans Are Looking For Six Sinister References In Spider-Man: No Way Home Poster

Infinity Pool hit theaters on January 27.

Stefania Sarrubba

Stefania Sarrubba is a feminist entertainment writer based in London, UK. Traumatized from a young age by Tim Curry and Dario Argento’s Pennywise films, she grew up convinced that horror wasn’t her thing. Until she gets into cannibal films with a female protagonist. Yum.

The post {Sundance 2023} Infinity Pool – review appeared first on Signal Horizon.