Hadi Hajaig’s heist film is very muddled in terms of its intent and story, offering nothing new in the genre.
The fact that it takes at least forty minutes for any clear plot to emerge in a film is perhaps not a great sign as it so proves with Blue Iguana.
Written and directed by Hadi Hajaig, Blue Iguana follows the exploits of ex-criminals Eddie and Joe who are on parole and working in a diner in New York until English lawyer Katherine Rookwood offers them an opportunity that they can’t refuse. Throw in a recovery of a diamond (aka a blue iguana), some cockney gangsters and a whole load of violence and you are left with this film – which although is great in terms of its ideas is far from being perfectly executed and presented.
The sad thing is that despite the best efforts of the cast, it is the script and plot that really let the film down – neither feeling sophisticated enough to keep audiences engaged with the story, particularly when the characters vulgarly slag each other with increasingly colourful language which loses impact the more it happens. There is no doubting that it is supposed to be amusing but as with many of the jokes in the film it comes across as flat.
Despite the plentiful violence, in terms of the plot there are no real exciting twists and turns as you would expect in a film of this nature – everything is about just getting through the situation as carefully as possible (there is definitely too much focus on the surveillance that Katherine, Eddie and Joe undertake with no real purpose). It is a real shame because there are moments which make the audience sit up and pay attention, particularly when Katherine discusses the blue iguana that suggests a more serious and exciting film is about to emerge – but sadly these moments are few and far between.
But it has to be said that the cast do the best they can with the material that they have been given to work with. In particular, Phoebe Fox is delightful to watch as Katherine – a solid presence who keeps the men she has hired under strict control convincingly. Initially appearing meek and mild, she presents a character with a strong will of iron that is the most convincing of the lot. She also has a nice and natural chemistry with Sam Rockwell as Eddie, the awkwardness of their initial attraction to each other rather charmingly played out. Rockwell offers a strong performance, getting the balance between the violent side of his character and the more charismatic side just right to make him likeable.
Overall, Hadi Hajaig has not created a memorable film – there is nothing unique about it to make it stand out from other film in this genre that makes it difficult to enjoy or even find funny.
By Emma Clarendon