Saturday, April 1, 2023


Nepotism is an interesting subject when it comes to film. People love to conveniently pick & choose who they criticize. Sofia Coppola is often used as the definitive case study for “nepo babies” while her cousins Nicolas Cage & Jason Schwartzman go relatively uncriticized for having the same lineage (to be clear - I'm not saying it isn't common knowledge that they're in the Coppola family. It just doesn't come up as much in comparison to Sofia). Everyone loves Jeff Bridges & Jamie Lee Curtis while Margaret Qualley & John David Washington’s legacy is so weirdly downplayed. I understand that folks like Sofia Coppola & John David Washington haven’t made the impact of folks like Nicholas Cage, Jamie Lee Curtis or Jeff Bridges, but there’s got to be some kind of consistency. Folks claim to hate all forms of nepotism yet give a select group of “nepo babies” a pass.
And if we're being honest - Sofia Coppola's nepotism is what makes her (few) good movies work. Who better to make something like Somewhere or On The Rocks? Both are stories of successful men told from the perspective of their daughters. She's the daughter of Francis Ford Coppola. She knows these types of people better than the average person.

The criticism of nepotism is also strange because people seem to associate nepotism with just the entertainment industry or the office world which is pretty silly. Nepotism is literally everywhere. I’m not saying that’s necessarily a good thing. I just wish folks that are critical of it would show some type of consistency in their criticism…

I say all of this because while Brandon Cronenberg is his own filmmaker, his work still comes right out of his father’s playbook (body horror, body modification, sex, violence, science fiction, surrogate bodies, new technology, etc). Last year we looked at the strong similarities between the work of Brandon & David (click here to read) and not much has changed with Infinity Pool (a movie I enjoyed). 
I don't see this as a bad thing. I have no problem with one of the most influence filmmakers (David Cronenberg) rubbing off on his own flesh & blood. Everyone else “borrows” from David. Why not his own son?

The Death Of David Cronenberg /
Infinity Pool

Crash /
Infinity Pool

Shivers /
Infinity Pool

The Dead Zone /
Infinity Pool

I highly doubt Brandon laid out these scenes in a calculated attempt to pay homage to his father. If anything he would probably try to avoid it. But the similarities are there even if coincidental.

Unlike the John David Washington’s of the world, Brandon Cronenberg doesn’t weirdly downplay who his father his. He doesn’t play it up either. He just casually acknowledges it in a matter of fact kind of way.

He’s my father, so I’m very influenced by him in that sense. We have some of the same genes, I grew up with him and have a close relationship with him – I’ve never rejected him as a means of rebellion. So he’s definitely influenced who I am and my interests, but I wasn’t influenced by his films or him as a filmmaker, because I just don’t have that relationship with them - Brandon Cronenberg (

If anything it’s the senior Cronenberg that does all the bragging like a proud dad…

After a tragic accident while staying on a resort, a couple with pre-existing marital problems find themselves in way over their heads in a world of violence, corrupt laws, and all around hedonism. Brandon Cronenberg also continues to explore the idea of surrogate bodies like he did in Antiviral & Possessor (Infinity Pool is a lot more in line with Possessor). This specific aspect of the movie comes right out of his father’s playbook. 
And the similarities aren’t super obvious but Infinity Pool would make for an interesting double feature with Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut. From the masks to the orgies - it’s all there (I’m sure there’s an essay or think piece on the weird secret activities of the rich & powerful somewhere out there)…

Eyes Wide Shut/
Infinity Pool

The general negative criticism of Infinity Pool is that it’s good until the final act where everything sort of falls apart and gets a little too “crazy”. The movie does sort of go off the rails but that’s what I liked about it. It’s about a downward spiral in to strange debauchery and that’s essentially what the film shows.

Infinity Pool might be the best film I’ve seen all year but I don't know if that’s because it’s actually really good or if there isn’t much to chose from these days. Either way this is a fun movie for folks that enjoy the recent/semi-recent films of the Cronenberg Family.


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