Where Cronenberg is on the outside, Cronenberg is inside. Even if the director is not "Mister Body Horror" David Cronenberg (80), but his offspring Brandon (43). In his new film "Infinity Pool" he not only takes a naked Alexander Skarsgård (46) on a leash and quotes numerous other (master) works in addition to his father's strips. Beneath the surface of violence, excess and sex, he also packed a sophisticated critique of the tourism industry.
Unsuccessful writer James (Skarsgård) and his wealthy wife Em (Cleopatra Coleman, 35) try to repair their troubled marriage in a luxurious resort on the fictional island of La Tolqa. In the facility, which is delimited like a closed residential complex, every wish of the pampered all-inclusive holidaymakers is read from the lips.
A supposedly chance encounter ensures that the lives of the two change fundamentally: the young woman Gabi (Mia Goth, 29) comes out as a huge fan of James' only novel to date and invites him and Em to join her husband Alban (Jalil Lespert, 46) to take a non-tourist jaunt off-site. This prospect of a little adventure appeals to James in particular. But when, after a night of drinking, he gets behind the wheel on his way back and drunk and kills one of the islanders, he is confronted with an unbelievable reality: on La Tolqa, the law is an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. At least if you don't have the necessary change in your pocket.
On the futuristic island there is the possibility of creating a perfect clone of oneself for expensive money, who has to take the blame for one's own deeds - selling indulgences by (cloned) human sacrifices, so to speak. What now sounds like the actual twist of the film is actually just the hook for an almost two-hour tour de force in which Cronenberg engages in an interesting mind game with a mixture of pornography, excess violence and decadence.
What if even the worst atrocities carry no consequences for you as long as you have enough money in your bank account? The director thus exaggerates a very real misery that numerous tourism areas in poorer countries in particular have to deal with: holidaymakers who, in pursuit of a good time and at the expense of the actual residents, behave like the ax in the forest - after all, you have paid for it . At the same time, the not unusual machinations of corrupt authorities are exaggerated: Anyone who pays enough bribes can even jump off the scaffold (several times) in the "Infinity Pool" regime.
Cronenberg stages these thoughts as a prime example of hedonism. The result is a reckoning with package tourism that is difficult to bear, but which is precisely why it is worth seeing. "Infinity Pool" is a melange of numerous sometimes controversial works. Marco Ferreri's (1928-1997) "The Great Food" meets Stanley Kubrick's (1928-1999) "A Clockwork Orange" and Michael Haneke's (81) "Funny Games" - including the obligatory body horror from Cronenberg. Nevertheless, Brandon Cronenberg brings plenty of his own ideas that know how to punch you in the pit of your stomach. In general, he increasingly displays a cinematic chutzpah that his world-famous father had recently lost. In contrast to "Infinity Pool", his "Crimes of the Future" (2002) indeed felt like a family best-of.
Skarsgård was clearly enjoying the raven-black hustle and bustle. After going to the cinema, viewers are no longer surprised that he appeared with a dog leash around his neck for the "Infinity Pool" premiere at the Sundance Film Festival at the end of January - in contrast to the film, however, it was not the only piece of clothing he wore .
In a positive negative way, Mia Goth stands out in the film. First introduced as a mysterious femme fatale, as the story progresses she blossoms into the most hateful baby face in recent film history. The German actor Thomas Kretschmann (60) can also be seen in a smaller role. He plays the corrupt cop who makes the increasingly escalating trip to Hell possible in the first place.
As in his film "Antiviral", in which Brandon Cronenberg perverted the cult surrounding film and music stars, he now takes on another very worldly problem in an abstract way. The sci-fi premise and even more so the relentless horror in "Infinity Pool", with which the filmmaker literally puts his finger in the wound at times, may be difficult to swallow. But these are always bitter pills.