Surreal thriller has extremely graphic sex and violence.
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Infinity Pool is a surreal thriller with explicit, sometimes disturbing sexual imagery and graphic violence. Through wealthy, privileged main character James Foster (Alexander Skarsgard), writer-director Brandon Cronenberg explores issues of masculinity, ego, and entitlement. Violence is extremely gory and explicit, with executions, murders, and other deaths shown in close-up, sometimes until flesh pulls away from skin and blood is spurting and pouring out of bodies. Sexual content is also explicit, with frequent sexual nudity, an orgy scene, sex acts, and almost psychedelic close-ups of genitalia and bodily fluids. Coercion is a theme, and James' willingness to participate in increasingly unsettling acts of his new friends is definitely morally murky. In one scene, he's manually stimulated by a woman other than his wife without his consent (though he also doesn't object). There's also lots of substance use, including drinking, smoking, and a fictional hallucinogenic drug. Expect plenty of harsh, insulting, and bullying language, as well as a couple utterances of "f--k." Note: This review was based on the film's original NC-17 cut, which also included a close-up scene of an erect penis ejaculating, as well as additional graphic shots in the orgy scene. The film was re-edited slightly to earn an R rating ahead of its theatrical release.
A boring, lame horror violence isn't as extreme as some people make it out to be!
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What's the Story?
In INFINITY POOL, James (Alexander Skarsgard) and Em Foster (Cleopatra Coleman) are vacationing at a posh (and fictional) all-inclusive resort located on the island of La Tolqua. Despite orders to stay on the property, they explore away from the resort with a couple of charismatic guests (Mia Goth, Thomas Kretschmann). When a terrible accident occurs, James and Em become complicit in the local government's unusual method of serving justice without impeding tourism.
Is It Any Good?
Cronenberg's unsettling update on Lord Tennyson's poem "The Lotos-Eaters" will make you rethink international travel. As the film opens, wide shots of serene scenery turn upside down. That hints at what's about to happen to James Foster, but it's really more a message to viewers that their expectations of the moviegoing experience are about to be flipped. By making Infinity Pool so outrageous, Cronenberg offers searing commentary on, well, a lot, particularly when it comes to people who are very affluent. What's stimulating when a life has no rules, no consequences, and no challenges? The acts become more emboldened and deplorable, simultaneously shocking and desensitizing audiences. Cronenberg suggests that if someone's moral compass doesn't have a solid casing to hold it in place, it will spin out of control until it breaks. The film doesn't play by any rules itself, and, thanks to extraordinary performances from Skarsgard and Goth, it's likely to attract young adults. But with its intensely graphic violence and almost psychedelic sexual content, for viewers whose brains are still developing and are trying to understand the world around them, it falls into the category of "things you can't unsee no matter how hard you try."
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the violence in Infinity Pool. Do you think the presentation serves the story, or could it have succeeded with less?
What does the cautionary term "slippery slope" mean, and how does it apply here? Is James a willing or unwilling participant? What are "coercion" and "consent," and how do you see those concepts demonstrated in the film?
Like The Menu, The White Lotus, and Triangle of Sadness, Infinity Pool satirizes the ultra rich. Why do you think this theme is popular? How does this film compare to the Lotus Eaters in Homer's The Odyssey and Lord Tennyson's poem?
Are rules with consequences necessary for people to act with morals? Why, or why not?
Discuss the use of sex and nudity in the film. Why do you think writer-director Brandon Cronenberg chose to depict sex the way he did? Do you think the psychotropic drug use was necessary to the storytelling? Is it glamorized?
- In theaters: January 27, 2023
- On DVD or streaming: February 14, 2023
- Cast: Alexander Skarsgard, Mia Goth, Cleopatra Coleman
- Director: Brandon Cronenberg
- Studio: Neon
- Genre: Thriller
- Run time: 117 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: graphic violence, disturbing material, strong sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and some language
- Last updated: March 1, 2023
Our Editors Recommend
Triangle of Sadness
Bold satire has strong language, adult themes, drinking.
Dark horror-comedy is bloody, funny, and tasty.
The White Lotus
Globe-trotting class comedy has sex, nudity, drug use.
The Wolf of Wall Street
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For kids who love psychological thrillers
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