- Alexander Skarsgard, Mia Goth, Cleopatra Coleman
- March 24th 2023
- Brandon Cronenberg
An uneven but immensely fun little offering. A complete tonal anomaly. Sometimes Infinity Pool possesses a pitch perfect sense of humour, other times it demands to be taken embarrassingly seriously.
It hovers tantalisingly close to camp, but never quite has the confidence to jump.
Instead, we have a movie that should have been a comedy but insists pointlessly on clinging to horror.
Infinity Pool is at it’s peak when it’s sardonically mocking its pathetic characters. As a horror movie it’s pretty routine.
Obviously Brandon Cronenberg is son of body horror’s crown prince, but he doesn’t have an inch on his father. David Cronenberg found all kinds of wickedly visceral and abstractly cruel ways to deform the human body.
Brandon doesn’t offer much here outside of bludgeoning and stabbing instruments.
I caught myself yawning at one moment when Skargard is stabbed repeatedly in the gut. I grow tired of knives and mediocre squibs. Horror is long overdue its abstract expressionist era.
In a movie which is otherwise so stylistically wild, often to a fault, it’s strange to see the same gore we’ve sat through a hundred times.
Outside of gore, Brandon has a unique directorial voice. He has a death-drive for close ups, most of which convey nothing but are undeniably visually interesting.
His nose for editing is trained and confident, capable of hypnotic montages and acidic sharp cuts. His lighting is crudely prosaic or aggressively stylised, with fierce silhouetting and kaleidoscoping.
His directing, for better or worse, is brash, which has a way of obscuring precisely where his formal short comings lie.
He is far from a master of the craft. Infinity Pool reads more like stylistic arrogance, but again, at least it’s visually interesting.
His storytelling is equally difficult to untangle.
Infinity Pool finds a compelling moral angle on cloning. For a high fee, clones are executed as punishment for crimes.
Crime becomes inherently self-destructive, in which perpetrators lose a version of themselves with every wrong-doing.
Initially they commit their act of self-sacrifice unknowingly, but after the first transgression, every subsequent wrong-doing is made with a kind of brazen masochistic pleasure.
That’s quite a compelling metaphor for how crime erodes our sense of self. It could easily sustain the entire movie, but it gets derailed by a rather overstuffed and half-cocked critique of colonial tourism, animal masculinity and artistic ego.
It lacks a narrative through-line to bind its disparate ideas and winds up as thematic gumbo.
What did I like about Infinity Pool? It’s fun. Very fun.
Even when it’s floundering in thematic soup, something delightfully strange is always happening. A
lexander Skarsgard and Mia Goth are essential to its successes. Skarsgard is doing some kind of miserabilist hyper-sincere Jeremy Strong thing and Mia Goth is chortling through scenes like she’s auditioning for the Joker.
It’s a fun contrast despite its dubious intent. They’re a joy to watch.
Skarsgard brings real pathos and Goth brings real hilarity.
Give these two any material and they’ll find a way to elevate it. It just cements camp genius Mia Goth as one of my favourite actors.
She is able to surrender herself to emotion in a way that is perhaps terrifying?
And she’s a creative actor above all, forever willing to push the material in some fierce new direction. One of the all-time best villain performances lurks in her, I can sense it.
If Infinity Pool is a pool then it’s very shallow. Don’t go looking for depth because there’s none to be found. Just enjoy paddling around with Goth and Skarsgard.