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Blood Orange Review

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Ageing rocker Bill (Iggy Pop) lives in Spain with his trophy wife, Isabelle (Kacey Barnfield). He’s losing his sight, but still has his wits about him, which proves crucial when a vengeful old flame pays a visit.

★★★★★

Pop will surprise many with his terse display as a half-blind rock god refusing to succumb meekly to leukaemia.

The scorching Spanish sun glints on the surface of a pristine pool, as a man of a certain age basks in the peace and quiet of a well-earned retirement. So far, so Sexy Beast. But a snake is about to enter this hillside paradise and much blood will be spilt before tranquility returns.

That snake is Lucas (Ben Lamb). He descends on the idyllic hideaway to challenge Isabelle, who is both his ex-stepmother and ex-lover. The source of his indignation? She married his ailing father just before he died, robbing him of his inheritance. Forever making furtive phone calls home, Lucas thinks he can drive a wedge between her and her new husband, reclusive rock legend Bill (Iggy Pop, hardly playing against type), because of their one-time fling, and because he knows she’s sleeping with the pool boy. But Lucas proves to be a poor judge of character, and the terminally ill Bill delights in luring him into a fiendish trap of his own.

Seasoned commercials and music video director Toby Tobias got the idea for his debut feature while watching age-gap couples dining. In addition to pondering the roles of love and sex in such unions, he also got to thinking about whether inherited wealth is a blessing or a burden.

Few rockers have been able to act as well as they sing, but Pop will surprise many with his terse display as a half-blind rock god refusing to succumb meekly to leukaemia. Although he has taken the odd supporting role over the years, this is Pop’s first lead, and he growls out his lines with a laconic assurance that the cocksure interloper mistakes for complacent weakness. Lamb conveys a persuasive sense of brattishly embittered entitlement, while Barnfield sugar-coats her gold-digging promiscuity with a disarming affection for her pragmatic spouse.

The dialogue might have been wittier, but Tobias makes the most of the atmospheric setting and twists the plot so that even the signposted denouement comes as something of a surprise.

Slickly staged and shot, this neo-noir deftly exploits its clichés. It’s hardly original, but it teasingly intrigues, while Iggy Pop steals every scene.

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