“Infinity Pool,” the latest film from Brandon Cronenberg, demands that audiences have seen his previous film “Possessor” before entry. Only then will they know what to expect: a bold, surreal, graphic, and provocative film exploring privilege, morality, and the inexplicable. Cronenberg takes huge risks, even more so than his previous film, without holding the audience’s hand. He is an exciting filmmaker on the brink of creating a masterpiece.
The film opens at a luxurious resort in a fictional country where writer James Foster (Alexander Skarsgard) seeks inspiration and his partner Em (Cleopatra Coleman) tries to overcome his writer’s block. When a young fan Gabi (Mia Goth) approaches James, he is intrigued and joins her and her partner Alban (Jalil Lespert) for a night out, against resort rules. The night ends in tragedy with a fatal accident involving James and a local man.
The authorities, led by the sophisticated Thomas Kretschmann as Thresh, explain that the country’s policy requires murder to be avenged by the victim’s son. But, for the wealthy, there’s a way out – a cloning process to create another James to be murdered while the original watches. This concept comments on the ability of the ultra-rich to buy their way out of anything and raises questions about the psychological impact of watching one’s own murder.
Brandon Cronenberg takes big swings in his latest film, a surreal and violent journey into privilege, morality, and the unknown.
In the resort, the lack of consequences removes any moral compass and leads to a hedonistic lifestyle of pleasure and violence. Gabi pulls James into this world while Em looks on in horror. Cronenberg suggests that our fear of repercussion is what keeps us from indulging in pain and pleasure. The travelers wear masks resembling deformed faces, providing anonymity, and the ultimate question arises: what if the clone is actually the original, and you are no longer yourself? Someone refers to these people as zombies, highlighting their amorality.
While not a traditional zombie film, “Infinity Pool” becomes increasingly surreal as Cronenberg takes bigger risks, experimenting with chaos. Though it could benefit from a clearer perspective and a more coherent message, the film is confidently made and engaging, thanks to the committed performances, especially Skarsgard and Goth.
Brandon Cronenberg continues to develop as a filmmaker by examining human decency in unique ways. The constant comparisons to his father, David Cronenberg, one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, are both a compliment and a challenge. But Brandon has become a captivating filmmaker in his own right, no longer a clone but a talent in his own right.