From the onslaught of “eat the rich” films, like “The Menu” and “The Triangle of Sadness” to HBO Max’s hit “White Lotus,” it is evident that, if you’re a fictional character in Hollywood, now is not the perfect time to be filthy rich. “Infinity Pool” is yet another film that touches on this concept, but how does it differ from other films with similar ideas? Brandon Cronenberg’s “Infinity Pool” is an erotic, philosophical, and psychedelic sci-fi horror, reminding you of that bad acid trip you once had.
The film stars Alexander Skarsgård, who plays James Foster, a novelist on vacation with his wife Em (Cleopatra Coleman) in a fictional country. During an event at the resort, they are approached and invited to dinner by a very eager fan Gabi (Mia Goth) and her husband Alban (Jalil Lespert). The day after the world’s most awkward dinner, the four have a beach picnic outside of the resort. On their way back, the group finds themselves entangled in the country’s legal system. The movie talks about classism and how the rich take advantage of the system. However, Cronenberg’s approach to other thematic elements of the film, like self destruction and self-hatred, makes “Infinity Pool” more empathetic and personal.
At first, I hated how Skarsgård’s performance was pretty bland and flat, but as the movie progressed, I understood how perfect the portrayal of James was as a character. Skarsgårds’ eyes perfectly display the emptiness of a broken man. The movie can get very artsy with how it communicates its messages, especially with its “Neon Demon”-esque hallucinatory scenes that drag on for a bit too long. Luckily, the movie still has enough going on to keep one engaged. Something that bothered me about the film is how it tries to explore a very interesting subject, but never fully fleshes things out, leaving me wanting for more, but not in a good way.
And if you’re wondering, yes, Goth’s performance was a standout. After the one-two punch she accomplished with “X” and “Pearl,” I had high expectations. She successfully delivered in “Infinity Pool,” switching seamlessly from a very innocent character to a very unhinged one.
The cinematography done by Karim Hussain is mostly amazing. The camera work transports you to a place that is familiar, but also foreign at the same time. However, some headshots feel forced and don’t serve any purpose other than showing how sweaty some characters can get.
For a movie that has a plate full of nudity, “Infinity Pool” tries its hardest to not show anything too graphic, to the extent that it becomes blatantly obvious and just outright motion sickness-inducing. I thought we’ve established that not all action scenes need shaky cam? Let’s leave that trend in 2016 where it belongs.
“Infinity Pool” is not a film for everyone, especially if you don’t like in-your-face gore or overly dragged out orgy scenes. I enjoyed it, but the friend I saw the film with found it very slow and way too confusing. Compared to other films that talk about the rich, “Infinity Pool” goes far and beyond, adding flair to make it stick out from the others. Not bad for a January release.
Juan Miguel Jocom, or Juanita Banana as his friends call him, is an Editorial Board member at the Seattle Collegian, where he focuses on writing about the experience of immigrant students at Seattle Central College. A documentarian, he hopes to create videos that will showcase the chaos and glory of humans.
As a Seattle local, he’s an aspiring granola boy, who enjoys rock climbing and jumping off cliffs. His recent documentary, Welcome to the Neighborhood, was an official selected entry for the 2021 SCOOP film fest.