January 23, 2023

GENRE | Alexander Skarsgård Drowns – 'Infinity Pool' x Sundance 2023

"It's like a new skin working itself into place."
Mia Goth Brandon Cronenberg | Infinity Pool
Sundance Film Festival
An emasculated Alexander Skarsgård and truly unhinged Mia Goth star as privileged resort guests on an all-inclusive luxury vacation in Toronto filmmaker Brandon Cronenberg's third sci-fi body horror feature, a dystopian piece of pure nightmare fuel. Set in the fictional impoverished Eastern European nation of Li Tolqa with a strange ritual of punishing foreign lawbreakers, Infinity Pool envisions both a descent into psychological madness and piece of twisted gratification.

Cronenberg presents a drug-addled, psychedelic orgy of shallow dread while emphasizing body parts and orifices bathed in neon-soaked strobe lighting. All this makes for a hallucinogenic experience after the conventional getaway fades away when a tragic car accident, primitive cloning technology, and a gang of rich troublemakers turn Infinity Pool into a critique of western monetary influence over the developing world.

Filmed in Hungary and Croatia, it's a sparse film with few sets or locations and a limited cast. Cleopatra Coleman, in a small but critical role, grounds the strange but dizzying antics as Skarsgård's cautious wife. How the film juxtaposes posh luxury for wealthy outsiders with the grisly drabness of local life only heights the tension we feel.

Mia Goth Alexander Skarsgård Brandon Cronenberg | Infinity Pool
Neon / Elevation Pictures
If viewers find the provocative film to be particularly titillating or sexy despite the intentionally outlandish depiction of explicit graphic sexual despair (initially rated NC-17 in the States), it might say more about you than Cronenberg or the film itself. The controlled writer/director is so deliberate and intentional in his dramatization of suspense and moments of total sexual horror.

Infinity Pool is a hedonistic exploration of twisted masculinity and foreign privilege. Cronenberg's efficiently menacing vision offers a depraved mood of debaucherous indulgence. His sense of ennui feels so drearily matter-of-fact as Skarsgård's retrained acting contrasts the outsized enthusiasm of Goth's delightfully disturbing performance.

Infinity Pool premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival as part of the Midnight program.

More | YVArcade / Indiewire / Slashfilm / Vogue

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