By Josh Taylor
Infinity Pool is not for everyone. Let me just say that right off the top. It’s full of both male and female nudity, blood, semen, and extremely overly indulgent visuals. It’s fitting since this is a film about overindulgence. Specifically, it’s about the overindulgent fantasies of the rich and wealthy that plays out over the course of a nearly two hour runtime. Mia Goth, coming off of a fantastic year with performances in X and Pearl, brings yet more great insanity and acting to this film. Her role as Gabi takes her to a tropical island where she meets couple James and Em Foster, played by Alexander Skarsgard and Cleopatra Coleman. She takes a liking to James, an author, and persuades the couple to join her and her husband (Jalil Lespert) on an excursion away from the resort. What the Fosters don’t consider is how Gabi will not only manipulate them, but over the course of several days, disrupt their marriage and lives in ways that are both fascinating and uncomfortable to watch. I don’t know what’s in the water in Hollywood lately, but there have been plenty of films about rich white people going to tropical islands to take part in things only rich white people would get to do. The Menu saw how the high class got to feast, and Glass Onion brought together a group of “disrupting” rich people to play games, be served drinks, and lounge at a lavish mansion. Infinity Pool is both the same but also very different.
The new Brandon Cronenberg horror thriller isn’t interested in just seeing rich people hang out and eat or drink. It’s a film interested in what they can get away with. Like I said, this is a movie about overindulgence. That includes violence, sex, drugs, and so much more. Like the other films I mentioned, Infinity Pool does explore the socio-political ideas surrounding wealth and corruption, but Cronenberg’s takeaway is much more cruel and bleak. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t walk away from this movie dreading life or finding myself sad. In fact, I saw myself walking away thinking about the colors, camera work, sound design, and acting. It’s all over-the-top, in your face, and pushing the boundaries of what’s acceptable. Again, this is a movie about overindulgence and that bleeds into the work behind the scenes as well. If you’ve seen a Cronenberg film before you probably get what I mean. Everything is striking and nearly every moment of this film is testing the audience. I found myself squeamish at times, holding my breath, and nearly holding my hands over my eyes.
Outside of Goth’s seductive, manipulative, and fantastic performance as Gabi, I can’t help but mention the emotional performance from Skarsgard. Coming off of The Northman, a film about a man that’s uber masculine, Skarsgard’s performance as James in Infinity Pool is cowardly, fearful, and difficult to sympathize with. He is the protagonist of the story, but I hate to call him that. I hated to watch him indulge, but I also hated to watch him suffer. He’s a complex character I was mesmerized by on screen. Just as I felt seduced by Goth, I was both drawn to and repulsed by Skarsgard, making me think about my own existence and how I would choose to make the decisions that he himself makes. This is a brave, bold, sexy, explicit, cruel, and terrifying film. Like I said, it is not for everyone. Infinity Pool debuts in theaters starting on January 27th