January 30, 2023

This evaluate is a part of our protection of the 2023 Sundance Movie Competition.

The Pitch: Greater than only a chip off the outdated block, Brandon Cronenberg (son of David) has rapidly carved out a bloody, putrid area of interest subsequent to his father’s works, bouncing off the elder Cronenberg’s fusion of physique horror and social critique along with his personal, extra fitful variations on related themes. His third movie, Infinity Pool, doubles down on the hedonistic, transgressive work he parlayed in 2020’s Possessor, it’s as bone-deep loopy as it’s sometimes uneven. However that lopsided nature simply works within the youthful filmmaker’s favor, creating one thing as bonkers to observe as it’s confounding to consider.

The fictional island of La Tolqa has change into fairly the resort vacation spot for the younger, wealthy, and filthy — together with rich daddy’s lady Em (Cleopatra Coleman) and her boyfriend, James Foster (Alexander Skarsgård), a failed novelist whose final (and solely) work was six years in the past; he’s hoping the solar and accommodating customs of the La Tolqa folks will function inspiration.

As an alternative, they fall in with a few of the resort’s different vacationers, together with a mysterious lady (Mia Goth‘s scintillating, unhinged Gabi) who flatters James’ consideration. However in typical I Know What You Did Final Summer time trend, James by accident runs over a neighborhood farmer one drunken, pitch-black night time, and it’s right here he learns that the La Tolqa justice system is “brutal” and “filthy”; most crimes are punishable by demise, historically administered by the sufferer’s eldest son.

There’s an out, although, no less than when you’ve got sufficient cash, as Thomas Kretschmann’s menacing Detective Thresh explains: For the precise worth, they’ll manufacture a clone of you who will likely be executed as a substitute. You’ve simply obtained to sit down there and watch. And that’s solely the start of James’ descent into insanity, his encounter placing him in contact with a gang of rich vacationers who see the cloning course of as a solution to indulge their most violent fantasies and get off scot-free.

You’ve Gone Improper Across the Eyes: Like his father — much more so, let’s say — Brandon Cronenberg’s works like to push buttons, even only for their very own sake. And Infinity Pool, with its NC-17-caliber deluge of crimson and cum, is not any completely different; disquieting close-ups seize the whole lot from bashed-in skulls, breaking up bone fragment by bone fragment, to Skarsgård’s throbbing member gushing to completion because of a useful hand.

If nothing else, Infinity Pool is a examine in extremity, a litmus take a look at to see simply how a lot Cronenberg can get away with. From the opening minutes, he seeks to disorient, introducing each the shiny resort and the downtrodden huts exterior of it with loping, curving barrel roll photographs that go away you not sure which means is up. And it simply will get crazier from there, with disquieting photographs of pink/blue goop, characters carrying conventional masks that seem like disfigured visages, and the imperfections of the human physique laid naked for our disgust.

Infinity Pool (NEON)

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