overflowing swimming pool, 2023
Written and directed by Brandon Cronenberg.
With Alexander Skarsgård, Mia Goth, Cleopatra Coleman and Thomas Kretschmann.
James and Em Foster are enjoying an all-inclusive beach vacation on the fictional island of La Tolqa when a fatal accident exposes the evil subculture of hedonistic tourism, reckless violence and surreal horrors.
Brandon Cronenberg gets in on some feature film action with his new three-on-three psychedelic horror game – albeit with some fair reservations overflowing swimming pool. While those preparing for a crazy time might get the impression that Cronenberg was a bit eager to steal what worked so well. Owner — namely plenty of cranial and creeping identity issues — his uncompromising disorder should earn him an easy cult following with fans nonetheless.
Novelist James Foster (Alexander Skarsgård) and his wealthy wife Em (Cleopatra Coleman) jet off to an inclusive resort in the fictional nation of Li Tolqa in the hopes that it will remove James’ crushing writer’s block. At the posh resort, they soon meet Gabby (Mia Goth), a super fan of James’ work, and her partner Alban (Jalil Lespert), who invite the Fosters over for dinner and drinks.
And so, against the station’s orders, the foursome venture out of the heavily guarded compound, leading to a drunken car crash in which James fatally punches a local farmer. James is then arrested and told that while the penalty for his crime is death at the hands of the man’s family, a local tourism initiative allows him to offset the penalty by paying for an identical duplicate of himself, complete with his own memorabilia. , paid to be killed instead. Oh, and James has to watch “his” execution too.
It’s certainly an incredibly crazy situation, and even if you don’t know Cronenberg Jr. at this point, an opening line sets the confusing tone quite perfectly as Em James asks him if he said in his sleep: “You can feed yourself. ” not brain dead on white sand. Yes.
It’s true that it takes a little longer overflowing swimming pool build a complete vapor cloud; Many established scenes simply lack an uplifting spark, and it’s not until Act II, the firmly established concept, that it really settles into a dark, comedic groove. As with the director’s previous films, the satire doesn’t engage in subtlety, but at least finds a relatively unique angle to poke fun at the rich and privileged.
Cronenberg nicely sums up the uncertainty of adapting to the mores of an unfamiliar country, the inherent weirdness of locking yourself in a resort town for weeks on end, and how many tourists tend to antagonize the native population. Moreover, the script outright snubs money-hungry tourists who believe that wealth grants them unlimited immunity and hospitality, while acknowledging the dehumanizing nature of hedonism. After all, who among us hasn’t let loose a bit while vacationing in an exotic place? The lure of a foreign place can take you outside of yourself, and in Li Tolqa’s case, in a more literal way than you might otherwise think.
It’s probably unfair to name the movies that overflowing swimming pool shares most of his DNA with Cronenberg, but Cronenberg clearly enjoys toying with the audience when it comes to: James and his quickly dissolving understanding of who he is – perhaps also one of the most common themes in the work from his father. Incorporate an exploration of the life-altering power of the sublime, a sense of justice in a technologically advanced future, and meditations on the cathartic, albeit unsettling, nature of violence, and you’ve got a stringy stew.
Desire is the key word here, because true to the cinematic family mold, it’s no surprise that this was whittled down from an NC-17 rating to an R. Without saying too much, the opening act of the film features a close-up of a cumshot, and it only gets stickier from there. But it’s worth remembering that the film, violent and hypnotically surreal as it often is, doesn’t begin to address the real visceral unease of Cronenberg’s earlier work, which might disappoint some.
This is not, however, due to a lack of effort on the part of the actors; Alexander Skarsgård is essentially our loser protagonist, while Mia Goth has the time of her life as the disarmingly weird, intimidating yet sexy seductress Gabi. It’s simply inevitable that much of Goth’s posturing and heist throughout the film will soon be immortalized in GIF form.
Thomas Kretschmann is also notable for his brief but notable role as the fun and tough cop James and Co. occasionally encounter. Although he never raises his voice, he at one point tells the group with unsettling certainty, “Our country is not a playground for foreign children.”
It will surprise no one that Brandon Cronenberg has created another ultra-atmospheric and infinitely elegant work here, from the almost tongue-in-cheek use of beautiful sunny Croatian and Hungarian filming locations to the most unattractive greyness of the state prison.
Hallucinogenic neon abounds throughout, which, while appealing to a point, perhaps feels a bit too recycled Owner, as if it had become a kind of aesthetic crutch. Nonetheless, this is a well-put together film courtesy of DP Karim Hussain, with perhaps the most hilarious cut you’ll see all year, and Tim’s intense, beating electronic musical score. Hecker serves as a sneaky accompaniment.
By the time overflowing swimming pool Diving deep into the third reel, the spinning shell game looks a bit tired with unreliable visuals, and while the ending pulls its themes and character together nicely, you can’t help but feel it’s dragging on a bit. too long in circles. At 117 minutes, another editorial pass at around 15 minutes might have helped, but Cronenberg fans are unlikely to be put off by uneven pacing.
If to this day it’s quite conveniently the weakest of Brandon Cronenberg’s three traits, overflowing swimming pool still offers an irresistibly twisted satire of holiday hedonism – despite being itself a work of over-the-top excess.
Scintillating Myth Rating – Movie: ★★★ / Movie: ★★★★
Shaun Munro – Keep Following Me Twitter for more cinematic forays.
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