In Infinity Pool, dwelling nepo-baby apologia Brandon Cronenberg finds writer James Foster (Alexander Skarsgard) half-heartedly looking for inspiration in writing a long-gestating–although maybe not hotly anticipated–sophomore novel at an unique beachside resort, accompanied by his wife-turned-financier Em (Cleopatra Coleman). Foster attracts the eye of Mia Goth’s Gabi and her husband, who invite the couple to hitch them on varied excursions exterior the resort. All is comparatively effectively, regardless of some unstated sexual stress between the outgoing Gabi and insular James, till he by chance kills a poor native farmer in a hit-and-run accident on the drive again to the resort from a close-by seaside.
It’s right here that any spools of sanity start to unwind quickly. Li Tolqa, the fictional European nation wherein the resort is situated, has some decidedly unusual customs on the subject of the authorized course of. Based on Li Tolqan custom, James’ punishment is to be killed by the deceased farmer’s oldest son as restitution for the unintended loss of life. That’s, until they comply with pay a large price and have James cloned. The couple are then pressured to observe the double die in James’ place.
Em is understandably disgusted by the entire affair, however James–an emasculated worm within the type of a blonde Adonis–finds himself oddly entranced by the imaginative and prescient of his personal physique gushing technicolor purple. Launched again to the resort, James is drawn by Gabi into what quantities to a gang of uber-rich “zombies”, as they sarcastically seek advice from themselves. These yearly guests to Li Tolqa get their jollies participating in violent crime, protected within the information that their freshly-formed doubles would be the ones to bear the lethal penalties.
Approaching the heels of a yr rife with eat-the-rich posturing in movies like Glass Onion, The Menu, and Triangle of Disappointment, Infinity Pool’s personal makes an attempt at high-society takedown really feel much less very important. Whereas the visceral horror (and viscera) on display screen actually packs a gut-level punch, Cronenberg’s analogy feels without delay drained and overwrought. The pictures employed may be darker and extra psychologically fraught than something served up by Ralph Fiennes’ vengeful chef, however the tip of the metaphorical knife doesn’t really feel any sharper.
Infinity Pool works greatest when its anti-rich screed fades into the background, and lets Cronenberg’s prodigious technical acuity–and different extra explicitly physiological obsessions–take center-stage. The director frames human flesh like noone else, apart from possibly his dad. Gabbi and James are sometimes seen in excruciatingly tight close-up, their eyeballs occupy whole frames, beads of sweat (and each different bodily fluid) drip and stream in large rolling dollops throughout the display screen. The pearly oceanic vistas of Li Tolqa really feel bland as compared. What good is plain-old luxurious in comparison with the gloopy delights of the human machine?
Sadly, the movie can’t assist however return to the far-less fascinating outrage over elitist extra. The sentiment is actually one value investigating, however Cronenberg can’t appear to seek out something new to say about it. Late within the movie, an injured James is paraded down a rustic street whereas Gabi, drunk, recites a savage assessment of his first novel. Within the assessment, the critic proclaims that Foster has “nothing new to say, and lacks the phrases to say it”. Infinity Pool purports to have a lot to say about all method of topics–masculinity, capitalism, class disparity and so forth. However right here, the usually eloquent Cronenberg lacks the phrases to say something fascinating about them.