Friday, February 24, 2023

Infinity Pool (2023)

This cartoon made me wonder if AI could already be used to produce genre screenplays which don't stutter to a disappointing conclusion, in particular when the final moments involve a hefty dose of ambiguity. 

I mean, humans can do this — The Shining for example — but it is becoming less common. 

Brandon Cronenberg's Infinity Pool is extraordinary and however you feel about the way it winds up, you are going to know that you have been properly movie'd! 

I think the problem here is ultimately twofold. Firstly the basic conceit falls between two stools. It could be used in a movie as it is here, more or less as an extended exercise in visceral, visual suggestion, with considerably more show than tell OR it could be strung out (rather like Dark) across three ten episode seasons with a bit more to-ing and fro-ing between the existential teasing and some actual, if partial resolution. I suspect that the climax would be a bit meh either way. 

The second issue I had is that even in the part I was most gripped by, I was starting to think of simple things that could be done to improve the experience. Several characters needed padding out and as someone who generally loves any story set in a hotel or resort, something felt missing here in the way the location was realised. 

And if anyone should delight in a metaphorical treatment of how comparatively well-off foreigners tend to behave as if they are above both the law and moral censure when liberated from their more native constraints, that would tend to be me.  


My feelings about Mia Goth's performance neatly mirrored those about the whole production. Wow, I had thought at the start, confirmation that X/Pearl were no flukes,  and that we have another strong yet unconventional British-South American silver screen presence to put alongside Anya Taylor-Joy. By the end it all felt a bit over-strained and detached from credibility.  

Ditto Alexander Skarsgård doing his grunty thing. Pleasing to a point, but then it starts to manifest as a cover up for weaknesses in the script. 

The movie designed to terrify North Americans with passports is practically a genre of its own, and while this is a lot more interesting than Hostel or Taken, it doesn’t quite do enough to entirely transcend its tropes. 

I'm not going to say anything more, because in spite of these misgivings I would recommend this film, and I do think it is worth seeing before one has discovered much about the plot.  





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