BLOOD ORANGE

6.5 out of 10

Release Date: 29th April 2016 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Toby Tobias

Cast: Kacey Barnfield, Ben Lamb, Antonio Magro and Iggy Pop

Writer: Toby Tobias

Trailer: BLOOD ORANGE

blood-orange_poster_goldposter_com_2

If you’re here to find out whether Iggy Pop’s (THE CROW 2) first leading role in decades amounts to much stick around. This four-hander sets its stall out in Sexy Beast country – it’s a Meditereanean thriller featuring dodgy brits. It offers plot chicanery, a very watchable cast, aided immensely by a note-perfect performance by Mr Pop. He’s ably supported by Kacey Barnfield (WORLD WAR DEAD), Ben Lamb (NOW YOU SEE ME 2) and Antonio Magro (TITANIC (TV)).

Ben Lamb plays Kacey Barnfield’s ex-lover and son of the man she was married to before she hooked up with Iggy Pop. Lamb’s father left all his money to Kacey when he died and now he’s come to Iggy’s house to blackmail and settle the score, only he’s not as fly as he thinks he is. It would seem that the blackmailees are holding all the cards… Then Antonio blunders in and upsets the house of careful plans.

Reverse engineer the film, so of the turns are down to luck and couldn’t have been planned BUT these small inconsistencies don’t upset the viewers enjoyment. It’s a real pleasure to watch the Peter Rabbit like Ben Lamb walk into the Lion’s Den and still think he can come out victorious.  Iggy Pop was born to act and it’s a real shame we don’t see more of him in the movies, which makes Blood Orange that little bit special. Because of my fondness for this icon I was quite willing to get the best out of this little thriller and it did not disappoint. It’s nowhere near my favourite film of 2016 but at least it’s got a few ideas and works very well within it’s narrow scope.

6.5 out of 10 – A fun little jigsaw puzzle to enjoy but you’ll only remember it for being the one set in Spain featuring Iggy Pop.

Review below by Matt Usher

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Kacey Barnfield: World War DeadRoadkill (2015),  I Spit On Your Grave 2, Green Street 3, Resident Evil 4, Lake Placid 3, Grange Hill (TV)
  • Ben Lamb: Now You See Me 2, The White Queen (TV)
  • Antonio Magro: Titanic (TV)
  • Iggy Pop: Song To Song, Sharktopus vs Whalewolf, Suck, Persepolis (voice), Coffee & Cigarettes, Snow Day, The Brave, The Crow 2, Dead Man, Tank Girl, Hardware (voice), Cry Baby, Sid and Nancy
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One thought on “BLOOD ORANGE

  1. Review by Matt Usher

    Iggy Pop plays Bill, an official ageing rocker (who’s also going blind) who has semi-retired to a villa in the middle of nowhere (filmed in Ibiza though I’m not sure whether the film is set there – the DVD blurb says Spain) with his much younger wife/girlfriend, Isabelle (probably wife – there’s lots of nonsense about legal documents and who owns what and stuff like that so I think they’re married), played by Kacey Clarke (previously Barnfield but in the time it’s taken for me to get round to watching the film she’s changed her name). They appear to be living the dream (apart from him being blind, but as whatsername says in the appalling SILVERHIDE even blind people have to make the most of it). Isabelle spends the days swanning about in not very much, swimming without a swimming costume (maybe she’s a bit absent-minded) and idly having sex with an unfortunate swimming pool cleaner played by Antonio Magro, whilst Bill … actually I’m not sure how he spends his days. Probably playing guitar or whatever it is blind rockers do to while away the time. Most of the attention seems to be focused on the swimming pool of nudity and death. Anyway the happy couple seem to be very happy with this arrangement. But then an interloper (Lucas, played by Ben Lamb) interlopes. He’s Isabelle’s late husband’s unhappy son (and also Isabelle’s ex – family get-togethers must have been awkward), miffed at being cut out of the will in favour of the harridan black widow hussy whore who’s obviously cynically moved onto her next target already. Except all is not as it seems. There follows, as you might expect, a series of plots, plans, crosses, double-crosses and conspiracies, leaving 75% of the cast dead.

    BLOOD ORANGE (the title object, which I’m sure is meant to have all sorts of symbolic connotations of sex and death, is seen briefly once in passing) should have been a much weirder, more unsettling film. It bogs itself down in legalese and plotting and ends up more in the realm of Dallas or Dynasty rather than Twin Peaks. Having said that, and although I’m very dubious about the actual plot construction (too many coincidences, too much chance), the film is still very entertaining. It works on a straightforward who-did-what-when-to-whom-and-why sort of level. As a slightly sleazy thriller which makes sense as long as you don’t think about it too much, it works quite nicely. But … it just sets itself up as a much more odd film, one which promises (well, hints at) unexpected or unusual developments along the way. BLOOD ORANGE wants, I think, to be an off-kilter cult film, the sort Alex Cox would enthuse about on Moviedrome; it feels like it’s meant to be descended from Wild Side, Wild at Heart, Cold Around the Heart, Siesta, and all those other semi-surreal thrillers from the late 80s / early 90s which had hefty doses of filth wodged in. But then, having set itself up in that genre it slowly unravels (probably quite early in the script stage) and veers off and becomes a moderately twisty thriller, but not like the 40s classic noirs so much as the low-rent ones from the 90s with minor Baldwins and Sherilyn Fenn in the cast.

    So as the film progresses it forgets about character and atmosphere and location (all strong early on), and concentrates on a very plotty plot of plotting plotters plotting things they can’t possibly rely on happening (the pivotal point requires A to do something to B after B has provoked C to do something to D, but A and D, who are conspiring together, can’t have known that B would have done that, yet everything flows from B’s actions (and indeed not even B knew how C would interpret B’s suggestion). (Now I remember why I usually just litter reviews with spoilers.)

    Despite my nit-picking about the plot and complaints about what it isn’t, BLOOD ORANGE is still quite fun. (Mind you, the last British film I saw with a Mediterranean excursion was the woeful ESSEX VENDETTA.) There’s some nice location filming and the director doesn’t make the mistake of going into travelogue mode. I also (and I apologise for pointing this out, but it does put in quite a lot of work throughout), feel like I’m on remarkably close terms with Kacey Barnfield’s bottom. And Iggy Pop’s chest. So swings and roundabouts. Pop’s character (and he is very good by the way, all gravel-voiced and world-weary) is meant to be almost blind, but the film makes little use of this: is it a fact, is he making it up? (The only time the film clears that matter up is at a point here it almost derails the whole film, and the car he’s driving.) Are his other senses enhanced? Perhaps the director might have found more ways to use the blindness in terms of his own framing of visuals? The rest of the cast are good enough without being outstanding. Kacey Barnfield has the awkward role of being (arguably) a non-femme fatale. She avoids histrionics, playing the role straight, which, although the right thing to do, isn’t as much fun as it might have been. As the interloper, Ben Lamb is agreeably smarmy and inscrutable, but he also seems to be a bit of a weakling.

    BLOOD ORANGE should have been a hyper-stylish film with a weirdly brooding atmosphere, heavy on the oppressiveness and heat (both in sexual and weather-related terms), but weirdly it wraps itself up in some very dull plot-based stuff. It reminds me of the films of John Dahl, but I think they were more tightly plotted, weirder, and generally better. Having sacrificed style for plot, the plot itself is too baggy, with too many loose ends. If it’d been tighter organised then it might have worked that little bit better, elevating it from nice enough but blander than it first appears B movie to excellent slightly odd B movie.

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