Brandon Cronenberg’s new movie serves up one other slice of that luxurious fear-porn that we’ve had on TV’s The White Lotus and Succession, or Triangle of Sadness within the motion pictures. Right here, the trimmings and appurtenances of the leisured super-rich may transform simply the design options of a jail. Infinity Pool is ready in a super-exclusive trip resort, a razor-wired compound of pampering on an in any other case poverty-stricken fictional island – however the place seems to have Lodge California-style guidelines concerning the respective instances out there for testing and leaving.
Infinity Pool is a component physique horror, half folks horror, with twisty hints of JG Ballard and Ian McEwan; it additionally includes a large flip from Mia Goth, who’s at present ruling our cinema screens elsewhere in Ti West’s shocker Pearl. There are some intriguingly nasty concepts, together with good performances from Goth and from her male lead, Alexander Skarsgård. However after a terrific opening, there are some shark-jumping moments within the second and third acts, and the doppelganger thought is a bit drained. Getting the identical actor to play the 2 elements is basically one thing that must be confined to movie college students’ commencement initiatives or TikTok movies.
Skarsgård is James Foster, a failed novelist on vacation within the imaginary island of La Tolqa together with his fashionable and rich spouse, Em (Cleopatra Coleman), whose cash is paying for all of it. They mope listlessly across the pool and buffet, uneasily noticing locals’ protests about the way in which Indigenous La Tolqa islanders are being exploited by the white western 1% on their solar loungers.
Issues choose up when James meets fellow vacationer Gabi, performed by Goth, who pertly declares herself to be an enormous fan of his (solely) novel. Succumbing immediately to her flattery and sexiness, James persuades Em that they need to hang around with Gabi and her faintly sinister older husband, Alban (Jalil Lespert), who’re giving off a little bit of a key-party vibe.
All 4 by some means handle to go away the safe vacation compound for a boozy beachside picnic within the scary crime-ridden island, however whereas blearily driving again within the darkness one thing terrible occurs and their trip turns right into a nightmare. The La Tolqa legislation that these responsible of capital crimes need to be ritually slaughtered by the sufferer’s surviving relative is mitigated by a sure weird issue: responsible wealthy westerners pays to keep away from the worst utilizing a sure technological process. Cronenberg appears pre-emptively involved that the viewers goes to second-guess the ending right here, and an apparent reveal is dominated out right away. However James has no alternative however to hitch what quantities to a secret cult of Dionysiac violence: a sinister league of raddled, worldly western sensualists, led by the entertainingly nasty Gabi.
That is an at all times watchable movie, though its standing as satire is a bit unclear and it seems at all times to be drifting into after which away from a terrifying, mind-melting climax. When the ending does come, there’s something disconcertingly downbeat about it, though the ultimate picture of James is unnerving and oddly poignant. It’s a film straining for greater than it’s reaching, second by second, however Goth’s poisonous vitality at all times holds the eye.