When it comes to winning an Oscar the law seems to be that your next film should be something of a disappointment. So after winning for his fantastic turn in Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri Sam Rockwell’s next film is Blue Iguana. As ex –jailbird Eddie he’s on probation working in a diner and is all too easily persuaded by a British female lawyer Katherine (Phoebe Fox)to go to London and steal a precious stone called the Blue Iguana, no relation to the Pink Panther diamond, and any similarity to those films ends there.
With his crew of fellow robbers they carry out a hold up at London’s Natural History Museum for no obvious reason except that it’s a great backdrop. The last time we saw that location used well was back in Disney’s 1975 film One of our Dinosaurs is Missing but when a gang of violent cockney villains get wind of the Blue Iguana they steal it off Rockwell’s gang. From hereon the Blue Iguana goes back and fore between the gangs in a variety of increasingly violent and bloody thefts
Written and directed by Hadi Hajaig this is Guy Ritchie-lite through and through relying too much on coincidence and convenience to advance the plot. Almost inevitably with this type of low life gangster film the shadow of Tarantino is never far away with some bloody violence especially in an explosive scene set in a men’s toilet as well a scene in a closed pub which plays like the disused warehouse in Reservoir Dogs.
Produced by Sam Rockwell who is always watchable but he’s coasting here and has assembled cast is of variable quality. Simon Callow in a cameo proves, as he did in Mindhorn, how funny he is in the films best scene as he and some elderly posh friends recreate a scene of cockney foul mouth-ery in their cut glass accents to hilarious effect. Unfortunately nothing else comes close to this and at the opposite end is Peter Ferdinando as Deacon Bradshaw a constantly seething psychopath spewing flem flecked foul mouthed obscenities. Added to this is Amanda Donohoe playing against type as his slag of a cockney mum unashamedly and unsympathetically photographed to show every wrinkle – it’s a role that a million miles from her lead debut in ‘Castaway’ where she spent much of it naked (though any remake with her now would be preferable to watching D-list reality TV star Gemma Collins waddling around Love Island being chased by Greenpeace trying to roll her back into the ocean) . Frances Barber pops up too in a minor and forgettable role not befitting of her talents , another member of the gang has a role so underwritten to the point where frankly a member of the film could have stood in for him and Phoebe Fox, though rake thin, spends much of her onscreen time eating.
Blue Iguana s one of those Ritchie / Tarantino impersonators without the former’s visual pizz-zazz or the latter’s flair for dialogue and it’s only Rockwell who really makes Blue Iguana watchable.
Here’s the trailer for Blue Iguana…….