‘Infinity Pool’: Brandon Cronenberg takes us on an impressively terrifying vacation

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Following his 2020 film Holderthe new film by Canadian filmmaker Brandon Cronenberg infinity poolstarring Alexander Skarsgård and Mia Goth, takes us on an impressively terrifying, violent and hedonistic vacation.

Novelist James (Skarsgård) is trying to combat writer’s block by traveling to an opulent all-inclusive resort in the fictional country of Li Tolqa with his wife Em (Cleopatra Coleman). During this vacation they meet another couple, Gabi (Goth) and Al (Jalil Lespert), who have been to this affluent resort before, eventually convincing James and Em to break the property’s only rule, guests are not allowed to go any further. there. the doors.

After spending the day having a beach barbecue, James hits a local man while driving back to the resort, killing him instantly. Gabi insists that the best thing to do, given Li Tolqa’s police practices, is to simply go back to the resort and pretend nothing happened.

But crime catches up with them, and James and Em are taken to the police station.

In Li Tolqa, the consequence of this crime is death, but there is another option for wealthy tourists to consider. You can pay to have a clone created, an exact replica of a person’s body that also retains all of their memories, and that clone can be executed in their place. The rule is that Em and James will also be forced to watch the execution of the clone.

James quickly discovers that these new friends he’s made at the resort have been in on this for years, treating Li Tolqa as their playground to do whatever they want and avoid the traditional consequences.

Alexander Skarsgård and Mia Goth in Brandon Cronenberg’s Infinity Pool (Neon/Elevation Pictures)

No consequences for the rich

For Cronenberg, the idea for this film began as a short story, based simply on the execution scene in which James first sees himself die.

“It really took place in a scene where someone was watching a doppelganger get executed, but the doppelganger has the memories of the crime and feels guilty, so it was more about identity and punishment,” Cronenberg said. yahoo canada. “The resort thing came later when I was expanding it into a function because it seemed like a good setting to talk about people operating without conventional consequences.”

Although it is tempting to put infinity pool in the same box that shows how the white lotus, or other movies like triangle of sadness Y The menuCronenberg seductively combines this elite satire with the concept of how one’s psychology can, as Cronenberg describes it, “become warped” in a consequence-free society.

Alexander Skarsgård and Mia Goth in Brandon Cronenberg's Infinity Pool (Neon/Elevation Pictures)

Alexander Skarsgård and Mia Goth in Brandon Cronenberg’s Infinity Pool (Neon/Elevation Pictures)

“Sci-fi designed by Apple, has been made super slick to the extreme”

When you think of cloning, the first thing that comes to mind is a very sterile, futuristic and minimalist space, but that is not the case in infinity pool. Instead, the movie balances this bright and shiny complex with this very rustic, almost decaying setting where the cloning and execution happen.

“It had to be as textured and menacing as the resort was shallow,” Cronenberg explained. “Part of it was just choosing locations. We shot in Hungary and Croatia, so there is this story in those places that is the real communist story.”

Part of the movie, for example, was shot in a power plant that was built during the communist era.

“Perhaps because the Apple-designed sci-fi, super-slick thing has been taken to the extreme with programs like black mirror, that while that probably represents an accurate version of the future, I feel like we stop responding to it at a certain point, because it just becomes a convention,” Cronenberg said.

“So for that reason, but also for the setting and the narrative, I wanted to do something more condensed.”

Alexander Skarsgård and Mia Goth at the screening of Infinity Pool with cast members in New York City, Ny, USA on January 23, 2023. Photo by Dave Allocca/StarPix/Startraks/ABACAPRESS.COM

Alexander Skarsgård and Mia Goth at the screening of Infinity Pool with cast members in New York City, Ny, USA on January 23, 2023. Photo by Dave Allocca/StarPix/Startraks/ABACAPRESS.COM

‘What I really want from an actor is someone to surprise me’

In addition to the attractive images, the cast of infinity pool it is, if we dare say it, perfection. But Cronenberg acknowledges that to achieve these complex and exciting moments on screen with this level of intensity, he needed the actors to pull it off.

“Definitely the most important part is getting the right actors to start with,” Cronenberg said. “There are some actors that I think are immediately brilliant and exciting.”

“I really want to target actors like that and connect them to my characters, and give them some freedom to explore. Because by the time I’m making the movie, the characters in my script have fallen asleep. I’ve been with them too long and they’ve gotten boring and stagnant. So what I really want from an actor is someone to surprise me and inject this new life into them.”

The filmmaker added that while he tries to think about editing while directing, he also makes sure to “get out of the way” of an actor’s process.

“I don’t really take drastic measures when I’m shooting,” Cronenberg said. “I like to give them a little space.”

“Then in editing, I’m very particular again, because I think you can really change acting in editing. You can really support an actor’s great work…or you can really ruin a performance.”

Alexander Skarsgård in Brandon Cronenberg's Infinity Pool (Neon/Elevation Pictures)

Alexander Skarsgård in Brandon Cronenberg’s Infinity Pool (Neon/Elevation Pictures)

When it comes to James’ portrayal of Alexander Skarsgård, Cronenberg really took advantage of the actor’s versatility.

“She has this presence and charisma that allows her to play these leading male roles, and she’s been in bigger studio movies,” Cronenberg said. “But he’s also much more interesting than that, and he really has to embrace this kind of subversive stuff and work against expectations, and he has the ability to do it.”

“So to have someone who could start the movie looking like it came out of a resort brochure, but then not only fully capture the nuances of the drama, but ultimately warp himself into this cannibalistic character, it was just weird and wonderful. ”.

Mia Goth, after her dynamic performance in Ti West’s Pearlshe is quickly becoming the queen of terror with these uniquely moving and downright creepy characters.

“Mia is someone I wanted to work with for many years, because ever since I first saw her in Nymphomaniac, and every movie after that is always particularly amazing,” Cronenberg said. “She steals every scene, she always has this amazing quality about her.”

With all the discussions about the “Nepo Baby” phenomenon, we have to mention that the filmmaker’s father, David Cronenberg, is a legend of science fiction and horror. But infinity pool shows that his son is not only just as skilled, but has an enticing, captivating and almost obsessive point of view as a filmmaker.

If you are a fan of fright and excitement, infinity pool proves to be one of the best.

Infinity Pool opens in theaters on January 27

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