Infinity Pool: Drowning in Toxicity

Directed by Brandon Cronenberg, Infinity Pool tells the story of James (Alexander Skarsgard) and his wife, Em (Cleopatra Coleman), a young couple who are looking forward to the restful getaway amongst the pristine beaches. However, after meeting Gabi (Mia Goth), the couple begin to step outside the guidelines that have been set out for them, revealing a world laden by violence and hedonism. After a shocking accident forces them to argue for their lives against a zero-tolerance police force, James and Em discover that their execution may not be necessary? if you have the money to afford the alternative.

The son of iconic director David Cronenberg, Brandon has grown up with a keen understanding of the incredible potential of horror to explore society?s ills. Now well into his own career, the young director is making a name for himself through his own ability to grapple with the modern era. But, with Infinity Pool, Cronenberg may be taking himself to another level with a film that truly disturbs but also wrestles with some of contemporary culture?s most complex issues of wealth and masculinity.

Although Skarsgard is the film?s protagonist, the heat of the film stems from Goth. As the unpredictable Gabi, Goth brings a mixture of charisma and chaos to Gabi that makes her irresistible. Whenever she?s on screen, her unpredictable nature makes it difficult to take your eyes off of her. There?s an energy in her performance that breathes life into the film and keeps it moving, even in moments where the narrative slows down.

Visually, Cronenberg understands how to immerse his viewers into his universe. Bathing the screen with bleeding reds (in more ways than one), he visually washes the viewer with colour in order to display the chaos that is melting around them. Similar to his father, Cronenberg has a passion for body horror and Pool is more than willing to dive into this unique style of filmmaking. Cut flesh, warped facial masks and graphic violence and nudity are ever-present and intentionally designed to disturb viewers.

Underneath the gore, however, lies a film that explores the deadliness of power and wealth. Although James and Em are happy together, James is a man who is knowingly living off of his wife?s family inheritance. Yes, he has written a book but he still remains unable to contribute actively to his own family. In this way, James is portrayed as a man of character and respect but also an inner weakness. However, when he meets Gabi and her friends, things begin to change. Power and influence are offered freely and the rules seem to no longer apply. 

But with great power comes with great toxicity. 

As James begins to drown in the brutality of this world, he becomes increasingly tempted to succumb to its perverse nature. After all, if money can buy infinite freedom, why care about moral boundaries? It?s this ethical question that lies at the bottom of this Pool as consequences seem to have no meaning for those who can afford it. With each experience, James falls deeper into a world but Cronenberg keeps the focus rightly on the dilemma of privilege and it’s problematic nature.

But, no.?Infinity Pool?is not for everyone. Featuring some truly disturbing and graphic imagery, this?Pool is not for the squeamish. Nevertheless, this is not to speak against the film at all. Instead, Cronenberg continues to mature as a filmmaker and, most importantly, shows a willingness to dive deeply into current conversations using his own unique style and voice.

To hear our conversation with Brandon Cronenberg, click here.

Infinity Pool is available in theatres on Friday, January 28th, 2023.

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