Iggy Pop is one the greatest performers on the planet. Having recently performed at London’s Royal Albert Hall (check out his stage dive below), his energy on stage – at the ripe age of 69 – continues to be electric, and his mere presence verges on the reverential and the messianic.
For the sun-drenched psychological thriller Blood Orange, the rock legend brings his sleazy sex lizard image to the role of terminally ill rock star, Bill, taking some time out in a desert paradise with his hot young trophy wife Isabelle (former Grange Hill actress Kacey Clarke – nee Barnfield).
But their bohemian existence is soon rocked by the arrival of Isabelle’s stepson Lucas (The White Queen’s Ben Lamb), who demands an inheritance that’s been stolen from him. Power games and secret agendas soon unfold, resulting in betrayal and murder…
While Iggy is undoubtedly the master of the concert arena, as an actor, he’s still learning the ropes. But in playing this version of himself he’s certainly scored, as he dresses his character in his trademark craggy complexion and grizzled leathered skin, iconic growling voice and awkward gait (something that was borne of a twisted spine caused by on-stage injuries and famously informed Andy Serkis’ Gollum in The Lord of the Rings). These physical characteristics not only match the sun-drenched landscape in which his Bill exists, they also help give his world-weary philosophical character an almost mythical quality. Its a character that’s certainly fit for purpose.
If Bill were a desert-dwelling creature, he’d be a camel spider, which feeds opportunistically on small animals – with the little critter in question being Ben Lamb’s unlikeable upper-class twit Lucas. And joining Bill in trapping his prey is Kacey Clarke’s sexually-voracious Isabelle, who is also every inch the Lady Macbeth in that she can’t be trusted – especially with the pool boy.
Using just a handful of characters in single setting (all shot in a modernist villa in the rocky hills of Ibiza) British writer/director Toby Tobias has done a pretty fair job at bringing his debut feature to searing noirish life, and it’s one that echoes René Clemént’s Plein Soleil, Polanski’s Cul de Sac (1966), and even Philip Ridley’s The Passion of Darkly Noon (1995).
Now it may not reach the heady height of those classics of the genre, and could have done with less words and more suspense, Blood Orange is an engrossing experience nevertheless – and one that’s made all the more rewarding with the presence of that wild man of rock ‘n’ roll.
IGGY’S STAGE DIVE AT LONDON’S ROYAL ALBERT HALL