Infinity Pool: A successful riff on deep pocketed society that over extends it’s message



Mia Goth stars in Brandon Cronenberg’s latest thriller “Infinity Pool.”

Worlds entrenched in violence and nudity have always found a spiritual home in artistic expression. Action romps like “John Wick” satisfy the sought after desires of gun porn fanatics and give hours of indulging content. For three years, Sam Taylor-Johnson’s erotica-gripped trilogy, “50 Shades of Grey,” fueled the fantasies that many choose to hide behind closed doors. One genre is defined by its violence, the other by its nudity, yet neither holds an NC-17 rating.

Seeing this mark as a medal rather than a warning, one filmmaker has made a career off his cinematic displays of pornographic brutality and in some cases, its inverse.

Brandon Cronenberg’s latest R-rated project, “Infinity Pool,” takes both taboos and blends them into an overt discussion on bureaucratic society and the power that money can wield in turning a crime into a relaxing pastime.

As failing writer James Foster (Alexander Skarsgard) and his girlfriend Em (Cleopatra Coleman) take a trip to a seaside country known as Latoka, their beach-bound vacation takes a turn with the introduction of Gabi (Mia Goth). Bonding over Foster’s work, the group spends their night on the outskirts of the nation’s resort compound for which they are all warned not to venture beyond. Exhausted from drinking, James drives them all back to the resort until he suddenly hits a local man walking the road, killing him instantly.

The following morning he is arrested and faced with two radical options. He can either be killed for his crimes in a public execution or – for a large sum of money – have an identical double of himself be created to fill his place. 

A less entertaining premise than that of his 2020 project “Possessor” – a film centered  around an assassin who overtakes the bodies of others via brain implant technology – there is no doubt that Cronenberg knows how to tell a vile story. Incessant scenes of sex, ranging from parties of two to 10, and savagery that would put the Spartans to shame, “Infinity Pool” achieves its grotesque agenda within the first 30 minutes.

As both Skarsgard and Goth have recently seen a steady incline in their acting careers – Goth especially with her work on the duo-horror hits of 2022 in “X” and “Pearl”, it’s clear Cronenberg chose to shape his narrative around the two stars. Despite this acting regalia, an oversaturated story can sometimes make too much use of the talent at hand. 

 Bashed-in heads alongside a splurge of countless genitalia have worked for the director in the past, but instead feel over expressed in this plotline. Films like “Possessor” keep a lingering feeling of dread in both the characters within the story and the audience watching the events play out. “Infinity Pool” relies on its shifts, going from group sodomy in one moment, to the contemplation of safety in the next. The former feels narratively driven, while the latter is pining for gasps. 

Saying that “Infinity Pool” did not achieve what it set out to would almost be as wrong as the film’s moral compass. The idea is clear and those involved did what they could, but these grievances lie in where my thoughts choose to wander. Rather than think about the message Cronenberg depicted, I reflect on the excessive nature of the story and how the theme became overtaken by vivid imagery.

Whether you are accustomed to these gore-riddled worlds or not, I think it is fair to say that an “Infinity Pool” watch mandates a light lunch and an open mind.