DVD Review: Blood Orange (2016)

Blood Orange DVD CoverDistributor: Metrodome Distribution

BBFC Classification: 15

Director: Toby Tobias

Starring: Iggy Pop, Ben Lamb, Kacey Clarke, Antonio Magro

Any filmmaker looking to cast a grizzled, ageing rock star can’t really go wrong with Iggy Pop. Starring in his first leading role, Pop plays Bill, said ageing rock star now retired to a villa in Spain and living off his vast wealth. Bill also has a sexy young wife called Isabelle (Kasey Barnfield – I Spit On Your Grave 2) who loves Bill very much but because of Bill’s ill health and carefree attitude, Isabelle is free to sleep with whomever she chooses, which usually means their pool attendant David (Antonio Magro) is the lucky guy.

But one day Lucas (Ben Lamb – Divergent) shows up and demands that Isabelle pays him what he thinks she owes him. It turns out that Isabelle was once married to Lucas’ father and was left his entire fortune in his will when he died, although he probably didn’t know that she was having an affair with Lucas, and so begins a tale of lust and, ultimately, murder as the tangled web of blackmail gets ever darker.

Clearly owing more than a passing nod to Jonathan Glazer’s Sexy Beast, Blood Orange, on paper at least, is a sizzling, sun-soaked thriller with a few noir-ish touches and a bang-on piece of stunt casting with Iggy Pop not deviating from type very much, but the end result on film is a bit of a letdown. Pop himself is magnetic, his crusty rock star charisma shining through in a script that doesn’t always feel that natural, and he looks amazing throughout, his leathery skin and reptilian way of moving giving him the aura of somebody not to mess with despite his character’s obvious physical limitations. Ironically, it is when Pop is fully clothed and wandering in the desert with his rifle, giving a brief stylistic nod back to Richard Stanley’s Hardware (in which Pop appeared) that he looks his best and the film has the vibe of a classic western where a man with a weight on his shoulders must seek revenge.

But Iggy Pop’s charisma doesn’t make up for the fact that he isn’t the best actor in the world and the script he has to work with is a bit on the flat and generic side, and also his co-stars aren’t the most competent either. Ben Lamb plays the shitheel Lucas with all the clout of a wet mop – although he isn’t supposed to be likeable so it’s job done in that department – and Antonio Magro may as well not be in the film as he has no presence whatsoever in a role that could have been played up a bit more, so it is left to the stunning Kasey Barnfield to brighten things up as the sexy femme-fatale Isabelle, whose penchant for swimming naked does give each of the male characters a good reason to act the way they do and she is the most interesting person on the screen, but somewhere in the translation she becomes less and less engaging as the film moves on.

And once Blood Orange passes the initial plot setup and we know who each character is it seems to slow down and become less intriguing and more formulaic. At only 83 minutes long it feels like a bit of a drag to get to the final encounter and once the inevitable is out of the way it doesn’t seem to go anywhere before the credits roll. All credit to writer/director Toby Tobias for putting together a film in this style, and it does have some very good points that, at the beginning at least, make it intriguing, but it falls short of a recommendation as there are so many more exciting and original thrillers out there that it is likely Blood Orange will be mostly forgotten about once Iggy Pop’s latest album/tour cycle is over.

Blood Orange

Special Features: None.

UK Release Date: 11th July 2016

Blood Orange – Website

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