Tag Archives: Neon

Sanctuary Review

I had a hard time deciding what I thought of Sanctuary. A film from independent film company Neon is usually artistically brilliant, with twisted scenarios. Sanctuary, though, seems to be more predictability over artistry. It does have a twisted outlook, but the film is more like a play with a lot of dramatic irony, rather than the dark comedy that it is billed as.

Sanctuary’s two characters are Hal and Rebecca. Hal is played by Christopher Abbott and Margaret Qualley is Rebecca. It is a dominatrix scenario, with Hal being an extremely wealthy client who arranges the meets with Rebecca. He believes that aside from his relationship with Rebecca his life is a joke and not exciting. His bizarre, sexual escapades with Rebecca is to help him escape his mundane life. However, when Hal decides that he wants to end Rebecca’s services, the film takes an ominous turn. Rebecca makes Hal believe that she will ruin his life by blackmailing or exposing his many dark secrets. All this turmoil Rebecca creates is where Sanctuary goes downhill for Hal, but creates excitement for Rebecca.

The sexual escapade of Sanctuary is where it becomes predictable. Hal may be getting his desires fulfilled, but is there more to why he has these desires? Rebecca’s sexual escapades with Hal is to her advantage, but is it really benefiting her? The performances of Abbott and Qualley just seem to lack the characterizations for a believable trap. Rebecca really doesn’t sell her claim to own Hal by her threats to destroy his whole life based on his choices and experiences with her.

The title of the film Sanctuary comes from the safe word that Hal and Rebecca develop to let the other one know that the escapade is going too far. Ironically, though, no one is “safe” in Sanctuary. Hal and Rebecca have built a relationship that causes both of them to have all kinds of weird and obsessive thinking.

It seemed to me that the tensions between Hal and Rebecca was more about a clash of egos rather sex. There are no romantic ties or connection between Hal and Rebecca in Sanctuary. There is just an array of personal flaws, bizarre settings, and scandalous realizations. The focus of Sanctuary seems to be on the gaslighting between Hal and Rebecca. Rebecca’s way of gaslighting is one that remains quiet, yet effective. Hal on the other hand cries with fear and anxiety to manipulate Rebecca.

In my view Sanctuary is a very poorly written dark comedy. Is “sanctuary” truly a word to ensure safety in this film? Hardly. The misrepresentations of this film takes it in an ambiguous direction. The film lacks ambition or any form of artistic direction. The artistry certainly can’t be found in the the gaudy red lighting that surrounds the apartment of Hal. Sanctuary was just not a very satisfying experience. Two and a half stars for Sanctuary.


Infinity Pool Review

The term Infinity means unlimited, endless, without bound. In the film, Infinity Pool, the bizarre scenarios are continuous and disturbing to a harrowing extent. Director Brandon Cronenberg shares the same vision as his father, David Cronenberg, with Infinity Pool. Specifically, they want to make films that challenge what audiences can handle in terms of repulsive factors. However, I have more respect for David Cronenberg, because he still makes films that are outside the realm of surreal horror. Brandon is still new to the directing game, but with Infinity Pool, it seems like he tries to top his father’s directing by throwing in tangents that are overwhelming to the viewer’s mind. Infinity Pool makes dreams a reality, and it does so with tainted judgment set in an eccentric world.

As I watched Infinity Pool, many moments of feeling eerie stuck with me throughout the experience. The concept of mixing reality and fiction makes the terror feel alive in Infinity Pool. The film takes one moment of violence and continues with it in other strange and creative ways. The director remains committed to bringing his audience into a nightmare that is anxiety-provoking. In Infinity Pool, there are no rules, no back up, and no boundaries to the weird spiral of events that happen in sequence. The casting of Alexander Skarsgard, Mia Goth, and Cleopatra Coleman are perfect for this horror adventure. With Skarsgard having previously done dark and serious roles, he has a fittingly daring personality. With Goth being in several horror films recently, she has the right attitude for risqué and dangerous behavior. Finally, with Coleman as someone with an artistic side who has many emotions, she is the one who knows there is grave danger throughout the film. The many personalities in Infinity Pool drive the film’s shock value.

The film focuses on a couple, James, and Em Foster (Skarsgard and Coleman). They are vacationing around a fictional island called La Tolqa at an all-inclusive resort. James is a writer, and what Em does is not discussed. They are a quiet couple just trying to escape reality. Their trip starts to take a turn for the worse after a fatal accident. As the punishments for the accident are faced, the world of Infinity Pool starts to take its audience on a ride that is hard to understand. The island becomes a place where there are no norms and involves a subculture of tourism that is hedonistic. James’ behavior becomes more destructive as he falls under the bad influence of Gabi (Goth).  He finds himself in a world where he cannot control the dangers, he has surrounded himself with. Infinity Pool is a place where freedom and suffering goes wrong. It is a film that crosses extreme boundaries of terror.

There is a warning before the film starts saying the film may have lighting moments that are flashy, and that for those who have epilepsy to reconsider experiencing Infinity Pool. Even for me, the flashing moments during dangerous elements were somewhat nightmarish. The experience was not enjoyable, but it is typical for the visionary images that the elder Cronenberg is legendary for. Now that the son of Cronenberg is creating a weird world of his own, it is an adventure where reality is not as promising or delightful as many see in their dreams. The mind of Brandon Cronenberg will change the way audiences view the Cronenberg legacy with Infinity Pool.

This movie is not amazing, but it requires an open mind like other films by Cronenberg. It is important to bear in mind that this is a film made by David Cronenberg’s son. Infinity Pool made me think back to many of his father’s films I love because of how they crossed limits which made them masterpieces. Brandon’s Infinity Pool is shy of a masterpiece, but it is still surreal. Three stars for Infinity Pool.