Film Reviews - - by Robert W Monk

REVIEW: Blood Orange

REVIEW: Blood Orange

Blood Orange, Toby Tobias’ directorial debut, brings the classic psycho-sexual themes of film noir out into broad daylight.

Essentially a study of four characters, the film’s script, also written by Tobias, has a theatrical edge to it which sits well with some of these concerns. Specifically, the film addresses concepts of loyalty, fidelity and sexual freedom. The luxurious Spanish retirement pad of unperturbed protagonist Bill (Iggy Pop) provides a classy backdrop for Blood Orange‘s compelling story of jealousy and mistrust.

Shot in Ibiza Spain the setting is more relaxed grandeur  rather than Balearic clubbing excess that the island is most famous for. Early scenes intercut Bill and his much younger partner Isabelle (Kacey Barnfield) dancing romantically with the ageing rocker popping (medicinal) pills. Contrasting the vital differences between the two, these scenes get to the heart of much of the film’s intrigue. Bill and the exhibitionist Isabelle (Kacey Barnfield) soon develop an open relationship, based on her amorous affection for the villa’s Spanish cleaner and handyman David (Antonio Magro).

For Isabelle, lust is just lust and physical activity can be wholly removed from any sort of loving relationship. Bill grudgingly agrees and lets the two of them get on with it. In the meantime he has rabbits to hunt with his trusty shotgun, despite his failing eyesight…

The first quarter of the tale is taken up with this blissfully odd psychological menage a trois. The undeniably  beautiful scenes highlight the Ibizan Casa’s delights and come across a bit like a sexually charged travel advert. Things take a dramatic turn, however, when Lucas (Ben Lamb), the son of Isabelle’s ex-husband turns up out for revenge. He believes that she, who also happens to be an ex-lover of his, stole his rightful inheritance and he wants it back. Confused? Imagine how Bill feels. Pretty soon, though, the shotgun’s out.

Blood Orange is less about gun-play than conversation. Bill calms down though and invites Lucas to stay and make peace and sort things out, and possibly think of a mutually beneficial understanding for all of them. Lucas agrees and the two enjoy philosophical debate and drinks in the Spanish sun. It all heats up again when Lucas, torn by feelings of inadequacy and revenge, learns of Isabelle’s fun and games with David, the uncomplicated local “pool boy”. Lucas sees him as her weakness and things turn into a chaotic nightmare…

Blood Orange delivers a visually appealing punchy film of watchable intensity. It becomes more intense as it goes on, with the spoiled English brats arguing and struggling in a power play. Iggy himself is certainly believable enough as the retired musician taking it easy in Spain. Not exactly a stretch, true, but he offers a warmth and humility to the role. He is always watchable, if only to marvel at how nimble and lithe he still is…

Overall though it is Barnfield’s femme-fatale  who is integral to the film’s success. Scene after scene lingers over her body swimming in the pool or lounging by it. Both character and film are drawing focus to female sexuality and its connection to male pride and ego. Delivering a thoughtful and poignant counterpoint to the provocative advertorial style set-up, the film soon reveals itself to be a taut, modern psychological thriller.

soma free saturday delivery Blood Orange arrives in UK cinemas on Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

Comments

One response to “REVIEW: Blood Orange”

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