“NC-17” is a rarely-used rating that means ages 17 or under will not be admitted.
That was the rating that this movie had when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Now it’s been, well, cut, and this R-rated version of “Infinity Pool” is what theater goers will see.
This version remains gruesome, with steamy sex scenes and violence. Like father, like son: Director Brandon Cronenberg is following in the footsteps of his father, David Cronenberg, who gave us “Dead Ringers” and “A History of Violence” in his lengthy filmography.
There is a science-fiction element to this, but you might not want to consider this an outright science-fiction film. Its themes involve decadence, entitlement, and just how far people might go if they think they have no accountability.
The setting is a tropical island where wealthy people are vacationing. Among them is writer James Foster ((Alexander Skarsgård), “The Northman”) and his wife Em (Cleopatra Coleman, “Dopesick.”)
James married money, and isn’t used to living this life of luxury. He also suffers from writer’s block. He wonders whether he ever will write again when he is greeted by super-fan Gabi (Mia Goth, who is made a name for herself as a contemporary horror star in “X” and “Pearl” all within the last year.)
Gabi seems quite smitten with James, and begins to flit with him. Gabi and her husband accompany the other two on a drive to town, and James takes over the wheel. He accidentally kills a pedestrian and has no idea what to do.
The other three talk him into leaving the scene, but the authorities are on to him, and officers have a talk with all those involved.
It seems that, in this country, you don’t have to pay consequences – such as, for example, being put to death – if you have enough money to buy your way out in a ghastly kind of way.
And then things get really dark.
The performances are great, the images are shattering, and the violence blood-curdling. But don’t mistake this for a mindless slasher flick, because it has plenty to say about who people really are at their cores.
It’s an essay about the pool of evil that may lurk within us all.
3 ½ stars
Running time: One hour and 57 minutes.
Rated: R for violence, foul language, graphic gore, and graphic sex.
At Cinemark, Davenport.
Watch the trailer here.