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Starring: Alexander Skarsgård, Mia Goth, Cleopatra Coleman, Jalil Lespert, Amanda Brugel, Thomas Kretschmann
OUR RATING: ★★★☆☆
Sci-fi horror written and directed by Brandon Cronenberg. Infinity Pool (2023) centers on James (Alexander Skarsgård) and Em (Cleopatra Coleman), a rich couple who are enjoying a perfect vacation at La Tolqa, an all-inclusive isolated island resort. Guided by the seductive and mysterious Gabi (Mia Goth), they venture outside the resort grounds and find themselves in a culture filled with violence, hedonism, and untold horror. However, after a tragic accident, it leaves them facing a zero tolerance policy for crime, either you’ll be executed, or, if you’re rich enough to afford it, you can watch yourself die instead.
Em Foster: You said, you can’t feed yourself with white-sand brain death.
James Foster: What does that mean? I didn’t say that.
Em Foster: You did. Maybe you were still asleep.
Em Foster: [to James] You’re so frozen these days I can’t even tell if you’re sleeping or awake.
James Foster: I don’t think I’d survive another dinner in town. Even the idea of it. Does anyone think it’s a real town? Why would they have a Chinese place?
James Foster: What’s going on?
Gabi Bauer: Someone’s making a statement. One of the locals, I’d guess.
James Foster: What do you think he’s trying to say?
Gabi Bauer: He’s saying that he wants to put a long knife right through here. And after you die, he’ll hang your body at the airport to scare off the other tourists.
James Foster: Seems a bit extreme.
Gabi Bauer: The Li Tolqans are a melodramatic people.
Gabi Bauer: You’re James Foster. I loved your book. Sorry, is that gauche?
Gabi Bauer: This is what is labeled in the resort guide as a multicultural dining experience.
James Foster: Well, it certainly is an experience.
Gabi Bauer: [referring to being an actress] I have a contract with an LA company. They’ve been grooming me. I specialize in failing naturally.
Em Foster: What does that mean? “Failing naturally”?
Gabi Bauer: Finding a natural-seeming way to fail at any given task. In each of the commercials that I’m in, I’m the one who simply can’t go on without the product. It’s ridiculous for me to not have the product.
Gabi Bauer: I’ve been waiting six years for your second book.
Alban Bauer: That’s true.
Gabi Bauer: Is it coming out soon?
James Foster: We’ll see.
Gabi Bauer: Did I say something wrong?
Em Foster: No. No. It’s just he hasn’t been writing.
James Foster: No. I’m working on it.
James Foster: I actually came here looking for inspiration. To a resort. It’s quite pathetic.
Alban Bauer: So, what do you do for money then? Do you teach, or?
Em Foster: He married rich.
Alban Bauer: That’s a good one. Well, it’s good for an artist to have a patron, isn’t it?
James Foster: Yes.
Em Foster: Oh, sure. I’m in danger of becoming a charitable organization at this point.
Em Foster: [referring to the Bauers] I don’t understand why we’re doing this. We barely know these people.
James Foster: We spent last night with them.
Em Foster: You know what I mean.
Em Foster: You’re just happy you found your fan club.
James Foster: Well, Em, you knew it had to be somewhere.
Alban Bauer: [to James] I’m just fattening you for dinner. You will be our final course. Once the oil starts coming out of your eyes, I’ll fry you with rosemary, and Em can eat your balls like a real marriage.
Em Foster: How do you know I haven’t already?
Alban Bauer: Look at him, he’s too disobedient.
Alban Bauer: [referring to marrying James] So why this guy, if you don’t mind? He has no money. Why him?
Em Foster: I don’t know. I suppose it has to be daddy issues.
Alban Bauer: Daddy issues?
Em Foster: Well, my father hates him.
Alban Bauer: Oh, come on. Be serious.
James Foster: She is serious.
Em Foster: My father runs a publishing house, and the one thing that he told me was to never marry a writer.
Alban Bauer: Of course.
Em Foster: But my father was also a monster. So, I married the first broke writer to spill coffee on me.
'I'll never know if I'm really myself, for as long as I live.' - Dr. Bob Modan (Infinity Pool) Click To Tweet
Gabi Bauer: [after James accidentally runs over a local man, killing him] We’re not calling the police.
James Foster: Wait.
Gabi Bauer: Do you know anything about jail in Li Tolqa? This isn’t a civilized country. It’s brutal and it’s filthy. We’re not getting picked up for this. Get back in the car now!
James Foster: It was an accident!
Alban Bauer: She’s right. It’s very dangerous for us now.
Detective Thresh: [after the James is arrested] Under our federal law in Li Tolqa, if you are responsible for the death of a man, including in the case of an avoidable accident, his eldest son should kill you to preserve the family’s honor. We do it here in the station, on Level B.
James Foster: Wait. What did you say?
Detective Thresh: [to James] Physical doubles. This is the deal my government offers to foreign visitors in your situation as part of our longstanding tourism initiative. For a significant sum, the state will build a double to stand in for your execution. Importantly, and this is key to our diplomatic agreement, it will also maintain your memories, and so will believe itself to be guilty of your crimes at the time of death.
Detective Thresh: Do you, James William Foster, consent to be doubled, and to the associated fee, for the purposes of satisfying our legal proceedings?
James Foster: I’m sorry. I don’t quite understand.
Detective Thresh: Would you prefer to be executed? Please sign.
Em Foster: They told me the double turned out correctly. It’s already finished.
James Foster: The double?
Em Foster: The surrogate. They’re waiting for us downstairs.
Detective Thresh: Often it takes a few attempts. Even the smallest imperfection is unacceptable to the language of the law. But this one, has turned out the first time.
James Foster: But how?
Em Foster: [as they look at James’s double] It’s horrible.
James Foster: It looks just like me.
Detective Thresh: You will both be present for the execution.
Em Foster: Oh, no. I don’t want to see it.
Detective Thresh: This is non-negotiable.
Detective Thresh: [to James, after his double has been executed] This is the ashes for you to take. Consider this a souvenir.
Em Foster: [to James] It’s really so disgusting, that you could just sit there, and watch it happen. Like a robot. What’s wrong with you?
Gabi Bauer: Are you leaving us?
James Foster: As soon as I can.
Gabi Bauer: That’s a shame.
'It's time for you to shed that disgusting larval mind of yours and find out what kind of a creature you really are.' - Gabi Bauer (Infinity Pool) Click To Tweet
Gabi Bauer: [to James] Maybe think of it as a gift. You said you were looking for inspiration. There’s something to the experience, isn’t there? You come out of it feeling, it’s hard to explain, but I can see it in your eyes, if you know what I mean.
Alban Bauer: James, you made it. You’re completely transformed. You look so beautiful now. I can see the beauty just pouring right out of you.
Jennifer: I’m just curious about our new zombie. You don’t have to be afraid, James. We are all zombies here.
Bex: Well, you’re certainly a flesh-eater.
Alban Bauer: Everyone here is a brother, James. You don’t understand Li Tolqa yet, but they are very generous with discipline, especially if they know you can pay.
Dr. Bob Modan: Do you worry they got the wrong man? Do you think, I mean, looking back on it, that they killed the real James? That was my biggest fear after my own experience. Because you wake up in that little room, and for all you know, they could’ve just swapped you out. Hard to say what happened while you were asleep.
Dr. Bob Modan: I’ll never know if I’m really myself, for as long as I live.
Jennifer: Exactly. So who cares?
Charles: What do you think, James? Do you fear you may have just witnessed your own demise?
James Foster: I can only hope.