Review by TNHC's Editorial Director, Emily Malone.
Violent, graphic, and utterly mesmerizing, Infinity Pool explores the concept of transferred identities with a gritty, visceral approach.
The opening scenes paired with Tim Hecker's woozy score and Karim Hussain's mind-bending cinematography set the tone for a trippy experience. I glance to the left of me, where a sweet elderly couple who clearly accidentally misused their discount cinema pass sit, and I worry for them.
James (Jaaaaaamesieeeeeee), our failing-author-protagonist, is trapped in a world he can't escape - not even, it seems, by his own twisted will. And as the film turns into yet more of a fever dream, it delves into hallucinatory, hardcore visuals that feel as if they're being branded into our eyeballs in strobes.
At about the halfway mark, when a character says to another: "it's really so disgusting. That you can sit there and watch it happen. Like a robot. What's wrong with you?" I start to think that Brandon Cronenberg is talking to me.
There's also a darkly comic thread of bourgeoisie satire, as evidenced by James' hilarious outburst after being confronted with a harsh review of his novel. Murder? Sure! Not liking his terrible prose? Too far.
But at the heart of the film is Mia Goth's all-consuming performance. Oh, Mia. <3
She effortlessly shifts from understated seduction to frenzied aggression, whether luring James to give in to his ego or screaming like a petulant child from the hood of a convertible. Yes, Dan Martin's slick, squelchy SFX are jarring, but it's Goth who really keeps us on our toes, here.
Brandon Cronenberg's work continues to evolve, following in the footsteps of his father, the master of the body-horror genre. It’s safe to say that Cronenberg Jr. is forging his path and creating a body of work that's mutating in a delightfully appropriate way.
But what does it MEAN? Ruth has a theory that it's about drug addiction. Another theory is that it's a commentary on how the elite use struggling countries as a playground, and where their actions have little consequence. Or maybe it’s a commentary on how sick and twisted we, the audience is, for watching this nightmare play out on screen.
While not for everyone, I personally found myself fully immersed in the twisted world of Infinity Pool. It’s just that instead of feeling refreshed by my swim, I felt dirty and gross as the credits rolled.
Arm bands recommended.