Well, the fictional setting and vibe of “Infinity Pool” is inspired by true events. But the act of “doubling” is purely fictional and is Cronenberg’s own invention — the writer/director was very clear about that. However, as Cronenberg tried to conceptualize the rest of the film’s setting around the concept of “doubling,” he thought back to one “strange vacation” he took to the Dominican Republic:
“I’d been writing a short story about the doubling executions specifically. In the film’s world, there’s a death penalty for certain crimes, but if you’re rich you can pay to be cloned and watch ‘yourself’ be killed instead. As I started trying to expand it into a film, I kept remembering this strange vacation to the Dominican Republic that I had many years ago. It was the only time I went to a traditional all-inclusive resort. I got talked into going there. It was totally weird because they would bus you in, in the middle of the night so you wouldn’t see any of the surrounding area. You would be dropped off directly into a resort compound, which was surrounded by [a] razor-wire fence and completely contained. You weren’t allowed to leave the compound.”
As we’re zeroed in on James’s perspective as a man who married into money, Cronenberg draws attention to some things that break the illusion of tranquility and peace. In the first act of “Infinity Pool,” it’s established that the upper-class folk vacationing in the resort see Li Tolqua as “uncivilized” and “third-world.” It is seen as a dangerous act to leave the confines of the resort, which is guarded by an electric fence. When James is arrested and sees the outskirts of Li Tolqua in the daytime, it’s a whole different world from the resort bubble.