I’ve spent a lot of words over the years writing about why we go to the movies and if there’s any “wrong” reason or way to watch a film. The reason why I watch a movie is completely different than why my mom or the average moviegoer does. For most people, going to the movies or just watching one from home is primarily for entertainment: to forget your worries and go to a different place for a few hours and be told a story in such a way that you are transported outside of yourself. This is why “Avatar: The Way of Water” has made over two billion in a month.


The older I get, the more I don’t care if the place I’m transported to is even a very nice place. If a film is made with enough craft and vision that I can literally forget I’m watching a movie, then it has already succeeded at the most difficult part of storytelling. 

As a kid, I grew up watching the movies of David Cronenberg (waaaaaayyyyyy) before I was old enough to really get the subtext of what was going on. To me, his movies were gooey and blurred the lines between sexy and scary in a way that I’m not sure was healthy for my eight-year-old brain. Films like “Videodrome” “Crash,” “The Fly” and “Naked Lunch” took me out of my suburb and plopped me down in an ugly world where our bodies could revolt against us and our DNA was subject to change. I’m not sure I could call what his movies made me feel “entertainment,” but they made me feel like film was a living organism that redesigned our brains into machines for empathy.

Now, 30 years later, Cronenberg is still making movies, but so is his son, Brandon. The three films Brandon has made so far have all spent most of their running times showing that father and son have a lot of stylistic and thematic similarities in their construction, but also that Brandon (basically still at the beginning of his career), is capable of building worlds we might struggle to forget. 


His first film, 2012’s “Antiviral” tells the story of a future where clients pay a company to sell them the viruses and pathogens from infected celebrities so regular people can feel closer to their idols. Next came 2020’s “Possessor,” which follows a corporate assassin who commits murders by downloading herself into the bodies and minds of unsuspecting and innocent people. 

His newest, in theaters now, is “Infinity Pool,” starring Mia Goth (who’s having one hell of a year or two), Alexander Skarsgård and Cleopatra Coleman in a sci-fi mind bender designed to attack your senses while challenging your morals. Basically, the film follows a pair of rich couples at a resort in a fictional third world country. They leave the resort one night (which they are expressly forbidden to do) and accidentally commit a horrific crime. Punishment for the crime is death, but for a nominal fee the government will make an exact clone of you (current memories included) and execute the clone, leaving the rich tourists free to continue being amoral and destructive in a foreign country. 

If David Cronenberg has spent most of his career examining how our gradually and unpredictably disintegrating bodies change our personalities, Brandon has spent three movies examining the way our bodies warp when our souls lost a moral compass. 


While “Infinity Pool” is directed with formal daring and is always genuinely stunning to look at, I’m not sure Cronenberg goes as far with the story as he could have. If you already have a story as outlandish as this, why not take the ideas as far as “humanly” possible.

Really, “Infinity Pool” takes the excess and hedonism of “The White Lotus” and gives it a dark sci-fi twist, but it doesn’t really illuminate the souls of its characters with any more profundity. All the ideas are just left sitting there as the final credits role, as the film takes a fairly pedestrian way out of its outlandish world.

But “Infinity Pool” did successfully take me to Brandon Cronenberg’s world. As much as I feel like there were untapped depths to the story, I went to a horrible place outside of my comfort zone and was deeply relieved to be delivered back home when it was over. I’m not really sure I liked being there, but it was one hell of a vacation. 



About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.