Sundance Film Festival 2023: ‘Infinity Pool’ Review

By: Amanda Guarragi

Some writers can see different versions of other people but have difficulty understanding their identities. Writers write stories about other people because they don’t find their lives as interesting. They want things to happen for inspirational purposes, not because they want the actual experience. In Brandon Cronenberg’s Infinity Pool, James (Alexander Skarsgård) and Em Foster (Cleopatra Coleman) enjoy an all-inclusive beach vacation on the fictional island of La Tolqa. They meet another couple one evening, and things take a turn for the worst. After James gets into an accident, killing one of the locals, the secrets of the resort are uncovered. This twisted, sadistic, and quite bloody horror uniquely showcases Cronenberg’s talent. 

The concept is highlighted in the title and further explored as James meets Gabi (Mia Goth). By now, Goth has made a name for herself as an actor who takes on very eccentric female characters. James is an author whom Gabi loves, and she wants his attention. Not only does she want it, but she also holds his attention even though his wife is present. Goth and Skarsgård have a weird chemistry in this, but it’s intriguing. The more time Gabi and her husband spend with James and Em, they start to form a bond. Cronenberg also shows how tourists often neglect certain cultural traditions on their vacations because it’s strictly leisure. He uses the comfort of a “getaway” feeling to take his characters on a downward spiral of reckless violence and surreal horror.

Through some unique framing choices and beautiful cinematography by Karim Hussain, the technical aspects make the film worth watching. Cronenberg creates such uneasiness in a gorgeous resort from the beginning. From rotating the camera upside down to the sinister score creeping during conversations, the odd camera work places the viewer in a different mindset. The visuals suck you into the world he has created more than the narrative itself. It’s experimental and flashy in moments that are meant to confuse the viewer through the character of James, but the idea falls apart in the third act as it gets a bit repetitive. Cronenberg explores the infinite possibilities of someone’s character in this imaginary pool on this fictional island. In this case, Gabi does show James how to live a lavish, privileged life, but it ultimately comes with a price. 

Infinity Pool by David Cronenberg is a dark and twisted couples’ retreat that shows how tourists can be oblivious to their surroundings. It takes the notion of the wealthy and privileged selling themselves to an elite lifestyle. The relationship between Gabi and James slowly developed, but their peak came too late in the film to explore the meaning of the infinity pool. Goth and Skarsgård give solid performances, but it’s more style over substance when exploring the themes Cronenberg wanted to dive into. The technical aspects, strong visuals, and sexual encounters in the film are the components that make this experience intriguing because of how different it feels through the lens of Cronenberg. 


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