Infinity Pool

To say he’s 6’4 with perfect bone structure and the physique of a Rodin statue, Alexander Skarsgård plays a loser exceptionally well. We’ve seen glimpses of this talent in The Kingdom Exodus and The Diary of a Teenage Girl, but it’s more common to see him typify male peak performance than it is for a filmmaker to utilise his uncanny ability to subvert stereotypes and amp up the pathos.

Brandon Cronenberg is perhaps like his father in that regard, who has turned handsome devils including James Spader and Viggo Mortensen into snarling strangelings. It’s difficult to avoid comparing Sr. and Jr. full-stop, given that they both make full-tilt body horror that plums the depths of human depravity. Yet where David Cronenberg’s Crimes of the Future was a darkly comic look at ‘surgery [as] the new sex’, Brandon Cronenberg’s third feature takes a more nihilistic line: death is the new life.

At an exclusive resort on the otherwise impoverished fictional island of La Torqa, novelist James Foster (Skarsgård) searches for inspiration with his publishing heiress wife Em (Cleopatra Coleman). A meeting with actress Gabi (Mia Goth), who claims to be a fan of James’ work, leads to a tragic accident involving a local – but when all appears lost, the island provides. James is offered a chance at redemption via La Torqa’s highly exclusive – highly expensive – scientific tourist programme.

This could be viewed as yet another recent filmmaking attempt to satirise the uber rich (see Triangle of Sadness, The Menu) but Cronenberg is less interested in a general “rich people bad” statement. We already know that. Richard Connell was making that point back in 1924 with The Most Dangerous Game. Instead, as with Cronenberg’s previous films, Antiviral and Possessor, Infinity Pool is more of a thought experiment about the economic and psychological value we assign to the self. What do we have to lose when we no longer fear death? What is it about death that truly scares us: the finality or the lack of control?

Although Cronenberg could stand to push himself to further extremes with his thesis and flesh out the details of this dark world (some imagery, while striking, feels redundant) he’s a refreshingly uncompromising filmmaker, carving out a distinctive aesthetic across his body of work, and casting actors who have a physicality well-suited to the genre.

In Possessor it was sad-eyed Christopher Abbott and eerie Andrea Riseborough; here it’s an against-type Skarsgård and Mia Goth, who oscillates between sultry siren and petulant princess of perversion. Infinity Pool is a visually engrossing slice of nightmare fuel that’s heavier on vibes than plot – an atmospheric, grubby little downer holiday movie that takes on dark tourism and even darker desire with seductive, sickening style.

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Cronenberg is two for two so far.


Skarsgård as a chump = genius.


Sticky, overcast holiday horror.


Directed by

Brandon Cronenberg


Mia Goth,

Alexander Skarsgård,

Cleopatra Coleman,

Jalil Lespert

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