For those who love the absurd atmospheric horror films, Brandon Cronenberg’s name is not new to you. With his debut film, “Antiviral,” the very talented son of the famous David Cronenberg made his statement and showed the audience how far he could go to provide the raw, bold presentation of his plot. Those of you who have already watched “Possessor” might just know what he is capable of, and with those visuals in your mind, you need to prepare yourself for “Infinity Pool.” The film is a unique depiction of boldness, and violence, which is mind-boggling. However, sadly, you might feel like it was a waste of time once you are through with the film. The film undoubtedly had the potential to be a great film; unfortunately, the mediocracy of the plot and lack of a concrete storyline weakened the possibilities.
The cast includes Mia Goth, Alexander Skarsgard, and Cleopatra Coleman, along with Jalil Lespert and many others. It is unwise to criticize the actors, as they performed as brilliantly as they could as per the script. However, throughout the movie, you would find unnecessary obscene scenes that lead you nowhere close to a person’s character or a storyline as a whole. However, the film satirically highlights the “fun” of the first world, which is essentially violence, hard drug abuse, and sexuality. Another aspect of the film is the representation of the working and lower classes. It has been shown multiple times, almost like a loop, that the privileged get away with things they do, the working class lets them go because their finances are hugely dependent on them, and the lower class is often paid off with false promises and positions that never change the situation for them. The film is based on the fictional location of Li Tolqa. A place that is defined as an uncivilized country with brutal and filthy people. Basically, it can be any developing country where people from the first world can go for vacations and frown on the natives (an age-old concept).
The characters are interestingly predictable in the film. The situations might be dramatic, but the response to them is exactly what you expect. Here is the character guide for “Infinity Pool.”
Alexander Skarsgard As James Foster
James Foster is a failed author who came to the country to find inspiration to write. He had been looking for inspiration for the last six years after his failed debut novel. James is irresponsible and sometimes appears to be a spineless man who is lost in his own world. Initially, in the film, you might be sympathetic towards James for being lost. However, you will be quick to pick up on the fact that he lacks any sense of judgment and basically looks for validation as an author, which he doesn’t receive from his wife. Thus, as soon as Gabi (Mia Goth) comes to befriend him, saying she is a fan, he jumps into their plan of breaking the rules and leaving the safety of their gated getaway to visit a nearby beach. Everything that follows is nothing but horror. While visiting the beach, James finds a spot to urinate. Gabi follows him and touches him without consent. Gabi begins praising him, which he enjoys without protesting. The duo came back as if nothing had happened between them. On their way back, drunk James hits a farmer, and the poor man dies on the spot. Instead of doing what is right, he follows what Gabi has asked him to do because she says the country doesn’t have civilized laws.
When the officers came to get James and Em (Cleopatra Coleman) the next morning, the couple was shattered. They were interrogated separately by detective Thomas Thresh (Thomas Kretschmann). Detective Thresh informs James of the punishment for the crime he had committed and also asks him to lie about certain things, to which James readily agrees, which again proves his broken moral compass. However, the detective says that the country has issued a law called the “Revised Process of Doubles Act” for foreign visitors and diplomats. Under this law, foreigners can commit a crime and produce a body double who will be executed. This twist changes the entire narrative.
Once they are back, James and Em see the execution of James’ body double, and James sees a tool of “fun” and a route to “escape.” He tells his wife that his passport is missing and goes to the lobby to extend his stay. There he meets Gabi again. Soon, they start “having fun,” where they begin drinking and smoking, go vandalizing a native’s house, familiar to them. There they shoot the men, and two women. That’s not all, they were also doing hard drugs, and was involved in group intercourse. Not just that, they show no remorse for having their body doubles executed, they rather enjoyed it.
But, at the same time, as a practical joke, when James found that he was tormenting his body double, he went back to his room and locked himself. This clearly shows another aspect of his character: he is a self-obsessed prick who would harm others and laugh but would not let anything touch him. But Gabi and her group had other plans. Finally, we see the violent disposition of James and his vulnerability as he suckles Gabi’s breast. Toward the end of the film, we see him coming back to the island and sitting by the infinity pool. His character is like that of a typical male in a privileged society.
Mia Goth As Gabi
She was supposed to be a strong woman character but turned out to be a manipulative blonde with a broken moral compass. But she is fierce and knows exactly what she wants. From manipulating people with her sweet appearance to her bold, seductive ways, she has the game under control. Gabi is the true projection of urban, economically sound women who are otherwise very lonely. Thus, at every chance to show off her power, the woman uses everything to get attention. Gabi could wonderfully judge a character. Thus, she knew exactly how to manipulate James and with what method. Initially, sweet Gabi goes to dinner with her husband, James, and Em. Later on, in her sneak-out plan to visit the beach, she seduces James. James is definitely attracted to the only reader he has found in a long time and falls for her. Soon, we will see that Gabi is everything that James could think of—and of course, sensually. What he didn’t know was that everything was just “fun” for Gabi. For she is a successful woman, economically and emotionally, so anyone ranking below that position is just another toy for her. In the final scene, we see Gabi, all sober and ready to be an urban woman again, embracing her urban depression.
Cleopatra Coleman As Em Foster
Although she appears for a brief period in the film, she makes her statement. a woman with “daddy issues.” She married James to get back to her father, a successful publisher who had warned Em about failed authors. Em knows she has all the money she wants and has a better moral standing in some ways than others. She felt frustrated when she saw James’s body-double’s execution. She knew someone else was being punished. Ever since Gabi met James, you could feel the sexual tension between them. Of course, Em could sense it too. She tried to protect James. But women who silently protect are often misunderstood as dominating; that’s how Gabi assassinates her character to intoxicate James. Em leaves, like any sane person. However, this is where we knew; she knew her place in the world and was sure it was not with James.
There are other characters, too; however, these three give the essence of every other character. If you are a film buff, you will find ways to interpret each one of them and will probably individually like their character build-up. But as a whole, none of the characters delivered the essence that we expected from the director.