James and Em Foster are enjoying an all-inclusive beach vacation in the fictional island of La Tolqa when a fatal accident exposes the resort’s perverse subculture of hedonistic tourism, reckless violence, and surreal horrors.
THE GOOD STUFF
Alexander SKARSGARD– Over the past couple of years, Skarsgard has proven himself to be quite possibly the most underrated leading man in the game today. Whenever he does headline of film, he really stands out and shares the screen very well with literally anyone he’s next to, no matter what genre the film is. He is extremely well-rounded, and he is an engrossing presence whose range is on full display here. Sometimes the character an actor plays can be very lackluster, but the actor is so good he will make the character that much more entertaining. Alexander Skarsgard does that on a regular basis.
THE FIRST 30- This is a movie that tells two different tales. The first 30 minutes of this movie tells the story of a somewhat emasculated man supported by his wife, trying to find inspiration to write a novel and slowly descending into madness because of varying reasons. This is when the movie is at its storytelling best. It feels like all of the best parts of a David Lynch movie.
Once the idea of cloning enters the picture, it becomes that much more fascinating. Every key character has a explainable reason for being on the island, and we all see how mundane their existence is even though they’re living lives of luxury. It’s all interestingly set up…
…Then it all goes…awry, so to speak. More on that later…
THE BAD STUFF
Gabi Bauer- Somewhat justifiably, Mia Goth has been crowned the scream queen of the moment. She has spent the past couple of years playing in a number of A24-type non-commercial horror films. In THOSE films, the characters she plays add to the festivities in a very positive way. I understand why people have made such a big fuss over this particular performance as opposed to the other things that she’s done. This is a much more unhinged type of performance than even what she does in the X movie series. And that’s the problem. There is such a thing as TOO unhinged.
Her character, Gabi Bauer, starts off as this almost ethereal presence in the first 30 minutes, but she turns out to be a loud, shrill, uncharismatic, nonsensical, one-note character of the highest order. At some point, I believe during the last 15 minutes of this movie, more than half of her dialogue has heard yelling the word JAAAAAAAAMES like 75 f****** times at the highest pitch of her voice, all the while doing this pseudo-Juliette Lewis in natural Born Killers kind of homage.
This might be something that just bothered me, but I was absolutely done with the repetitiveness of this character once things started to get really, really weird. And that happens at around the 40-minute mark of a 1-hour-and-50-minute movie.
EVERYTHING AFTER THE FIRST 30 MINUTES- Earlier, I mentioned how good the first 30 minutes were and that it’s very important to mention that first because everything past the first act of this movie is absolute cinematic masturbation.
Everything after that first act is dedicated to the activities of the murder tourists that he inevitably gets involved with. Many things that were set up in the first 30 minutes of the movie involving certain characters are completely thrown away… And things start getting weird. A little bit too weird.
THE UGLY STUFF
Photosensitive epilepsy– There’s a huge disclaimer in front of this film, basically telling you that there are “sequences of flashing lights.” That’s not false. There most certainly is.
However, that disclaimer doesn’t tell you that there are multiple minutes long sequences where THAT’S HAPPENING CONTINUOUSLY. No joke. It’s really excessive. Almost as if they intend to trigger seizures within certain people. It’s pretty ridiculous.
Infinity pool reminds me a lot of a movie called natural Born Killers from 1995. Like natural Born killers, infinity pool doesn’t have a lot of characters with a lot of complicated motivations. In fact, the motivations are front and center after the first 30 minutes of the film. And like natural Born killers, because there isn’t much of a story after the first act, the film then becomes a firework show of weird s*** your director wants to put on screen.
It’s a lot of style over substance. Horror directors tend to be celebrated for excessiveness over story, though, so I may admittingly be out of touch here with my assessment of this film. Stylistically speaking, Cronenberg is very much his father’s son. For better or worse.
INFINITY POOL is in theaters now