Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Leading Man Standing: Iggy Pop & ‘Blood Orange’

BY SAMANTHA ANNE CARRILLO Godfather of punk Iggy Pop is no stranger to the silver screen. Cameos as his sinewy, suntanned self outpace character roles at a rate of 10 to 3 on his IMDB page, and many of his filmic characters are still Iggy doing Iggy. That was before his feature film lead debut. In British thriller “Blood Orange,” Pop’s standout performance proves that recent roles — characters like Local Drunk (“Asthma”) and Nurse (“Sharktopus vs. Whalewolf”) — were mere preludes. “Blood Orange” is director/screenwriter Toby Tobias’ feature film debut too. Thing is, on both counts, you’d never know it. The film’s opening tableaux depicts ageing rock star Bill (Pop), his cataracts and his shotgun tromping around a swanky estate in Ibiza — he’s hunting rabbit — while Bill’s stunning, hypersexual spouse Isabelle (Kacey Clarke née Barnfield,“Grange Hill,” BBC) swims nude to provoke a response from shy pool boy David (Antonio Magro). At a candlelit supper, we’re granted a voyeuristic look into the privacy of a happily married couple’s maximally minimalist dream house/dream life. Amid paradise, Bill is heavily medicated. I Inside their ivory tower of sorts, he matter-of-factly ingests the prescription-strength contents of amber vials and blister packs: diclofenac, an über-NSAID; painkillers like dihydrocodeine, fentanyl nasal spray and morphine sulfate oral solution; and diazepam aka Valium. Antagonist Lucas (Ben Lamb, “Divergent”) arrives as Isabelle sunbathes and Bill nods off in his home music studio. Isabelle is a widow, and Lucas is her late husband’s son … and a former lover. Lucas is angry about his “stolen” inheritance. Bill shows up as a zen yet predatory alpha with a freshly killed rabbit. Isabelle makes a mean rabbit stew. Bill recites a chest-thumping paean to the equality of his marriage. He provides for his wife, and he doesn’t need or want her money. “Money kills love, son,” Bill drawlingly concludes. Bill invites/goads Lucas into going hunting the next morn. Punctuated by gunshots — in the brush and by the pool — this is where the narrative embarks on a series of zig-zagging plot twists. In the hands of a lesser director — or with actors who shone less brightly in each other’s reflection — the Gordian knot that manifests could have come off as unwieldy and farcical but Tobias has things well in hand — as does Bill, it seems.  Mark Patten’s cinematography serves the story ably, artfully illustrating Bill’s blurred vision with prismatic bokeh and blurred depictions of the hyper-stylized setting. The only CGI you’ll find here was used to create Bill’s cataracts. Iggy Pop stands 5’7” but on the global stage, he remains larger than life. In "Blood Orange" costars Kacey Clarke and Ben Lamb stand on equal theatrical footing with the rock star. “Blood Orange” is now available on DVD. For more info, visit Samantha Anne Carrillo is a situationist, fourth-wave feminist and managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Email her at

The article Leading Man Standing: Iggy Pop & ‘Blood Orange’ was first published on Free ABQ Blog

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