Blood Or­ange

Empire (UK) - - CINEMAS -

JUNE 7

DIREC­TOR CAST 15 84 MINS. HE 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 (Kacey Barn­field), 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. DAVID PARKIN­SON VERDICT:

JUNE 17 DIREC­TOR CAST Brown, The Walk­ing Dead. DIREC­TOR CAST 15 95 MINS. Harry 15 102 MINS.

Kacey Barn­field’s tro­phy wife gives Iggy Pop’s Bill a new lust for life.

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