Back in 1988, a little movie came out called The Blue Iguana, where a cool, smart-ass American dude goes overseas, gets into some lucrative criminal activity, and faces violent, buffoonish antagonists and a flirty, manipulative femme fatale. Now, here we are thirty years later, and here comes another little movie called Blue Iguana, where a cool, smart-ass American dude goes overseas, gets into some lucrative criminal activity, and faces violent, buffoonish antagonists and a flirty, manipulative femme fatale.
The American this time is recent Oscar winner Sam Rockwell. He plays a military-trained ex-con who travels to England, along with his equally snarky partner-in-crime (Ben Schwartz), to take on a heist job for a bossy, mousy Brit (Phoebe Fox). When that caper predictably doesn’t go as well as planned, they hatch another scheme where they rob a diamond from a cigar-chomping gangster (Peter Polycarpou) and his mulleted, double-crossing underling (Peter Ferdinando).
While writer-director Hadi Hajaig says he was inspired by acclaimed, quirky-but-scary movies like Jonathan Demme’s Something Wild and George Armitage’s Miami Blues, this new Iguana appears more like the work of someone who has watched Guy Ritchie’s early, Tarantino-knockoff films too damn much. Iguana suffers from being incessantly wacky one minute and excessively gory the next, plus from a soundtrack of late-Seventies/early-Eighties pop hits, mostly used for ironic effect.
From the characters to the purposely perplexing plot, it’s all hollow and artificial to the point of being downright grating. Blue Iguana is another exercise in sarcastic, self-referential, postmodern pulp whose time has so come and gone.
Written and directed by Hadi Hajaig
Screen Media Films
Opens August 24, Village East Cinema
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This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 22, 2018