Infinity Pool Review

Infinity Pool
James (Alexander Skarsgård), a writer, is on holiday in a luxury resort with his wife Em (Cleopatra Coleman), searching for inspiration for his difficult second novel, when he meets actress Gabi (Mia Goth). An accident exposes the couple to the strange local practice of body doubling. Extreme hedonism, bloodshed and a bleak examination of mortality follow.

by Sophie Butcher |
Original Title:

Infinity Pool

The idea that ‘rich people are bad, actually’ gets a simmering, stomach-churning spin in this new horror-thriller from writer-director Brandon Cronenberg, who asks: if you had enough money to buy your way out of trouble, even trouble as deep as the death sentence, how would you act? Just how terrible a person would you be, when all accountability is gone with the flash of an ATM machine? He answers it to dazzling effect, combining incredibly dark sci-fi conceits with equally black humour and visceral violence.

Infinity Pool

Mia Goth gives a genius performance as Gabi, a femme fatale who leads protagonist James (Alexander Skarsgård) astray. Whether she’s doing her ditzy acting speciality over dinner, seducing James with a look, or screaming at him from next to a bucket of fried chicken, every second of her performance is a demented, dominatrix-esque delight. All big eyes, bald brows and blonde hair, one look from that cherubic face could convince you to do anything, and the sheer power of her presence means she seems to tower over Skarsgård, despite their physical height difference.

James is, let’s be honest, a bit of a drip: essentially a failed author, had a major leg-up into the industry, emasculated by his wife’s wealth. Skarsgård taps into the complete opposite energy of that we last saw him with in The Northman, going from alpha Viking to a beta loser so desperate for validation that he falls for Gabi’s fangirl act instantly; he commits entirely to James’ journey in embracing his most basic, primal instincts.

It feels as though Brandon Cronenberg is simply in search of a good time.

The supporting characters, including Gabi’s husband Alben (Jalil Lespert) and their friends, are far less compelling. Generic rich nobodies, the group’s connection is flimsy — but given how flippant they are about their actions and the consequences of them, perhaps that’s the point. Cleopatra Coleman also receives short shrift as James’ spouse Em. If she and their marriage had been properly fleshed out, watching James throw it all away would have held much more weight.

In fact, the whole thing is lighter than Cronenberg’s previous film, Possessor, in more ways than one — from the tone (there are several laugh-out-loud moments) to the intensity of theme, to the intricacy of the plot. The trippy sex scenes and experimental sequences that the director has proven himself a master of might not feel like a particular stretch, but they are effective in unsettling you, and transporting your brain to an altogether more fluid, fallible place.

The notion of watching yourself be murdered is a truly horrifying one, but Cronenberg’s script effortlessly dances between sinking into the psychological repercussions of such an experience, and finding the rip-roaringly entertaining spectacle in it. Like Gabi and her gang, it feels as though Cronenberg is simply in search of a good time. If you can handle the disturbing visuals, wild tonal shifts and endless bodily fluids, you’ll have one too.

A slick, satirical, insane thrill-ride. Come for the twisted concept and blood-soaked barminess, stay for Mia Goth drinking wine straight from the bottle while yelling, “Sucky baby!” at Alexander Skarsgård.
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