Indie Gems: Tangerine

Nothing is easy.

Sin-Dee (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) is a trans working girl who has just been released from her month stint in prison. It's Christmas Eve, she meets her friend and fellow worker, Alexandra (Mya Taylor) a few hours before her show only to learn the news that her pimp/boyfriend, Chester (James Ronsone) has been cheating on her. Sin-Dee makes it her mission to find the woman and confront chester, while Alexandra reluctantly tags along. 

The film was shot entirely on an iPhone 5S. It's completely basked in the tangerine glow of its namesake. Strangely, it fits the tone so well. A harsh film like this benefits from a lens that is imperfect. I went in thinking "it's a shame a story like this had to be shot on a cell phone." (I assume it was for lack of funding) but that's not how I left at all. It just worked.

Rodriguez and Taylor, both in their debut feature roles feel so natural. They sound as if there was no script. That they could've been two random women just having a conversation (and a few different screaming matches) I hope they both find work after this, because I'd love to see them again. And casting James Ronsone was an excellent choice, seeing as there's no one I quite hate more then the guy that played fucking Ziggy Sobotka on The Wire. Rage just flows through me upon sight. 

The film isn't without its flaws. A subplot with a cab driver and client of Alexandra's ends on a tedious note instead of an intriguing one and at times it does feel a bit muddled. But it's an overwhelmingly sad story that I'm glad I had to opportunity to watch after all the buzz it generated.


Grade: B

Memorable Quote - "The world is a cruel place." - Alexandra (Mya Taylor)



12 comments:

  1. I absolutely loved this movie! Sure, the taxi driver subplot was out of left field. But it at least added more diversity to the cast and story. Not only did I think it was amazing, but it made me hungry for donuts!

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    1. That is a good point about the diversity of it. I didn't look at it that way.

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  2. I just watched this one this week!
    I agree with how they wrapped up the cabbie - it was disappointing.
    And like you, once I got into it, I didn't even notice the cellphoniness. It just worked.

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    1. It reminds me of another film Light and the Sufferer. That movie looked like it was shot on a cell phone, and I'm fairly sure it was shot with a cheap camera, and this actually managed to look better.

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  3. Really enjoyed this movie. You're right about the look of the movie being a perfect fit for this story. After seeing it, I couldn't imagine it being shot any other way. Just wrote my own review of this. Hope to post it soon.

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  4. I thought the performances were a bit shaky in the early scenes, but I really liked this one. Glad you did, too.

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    1. They were, but they got better. Really good for two leads that don't have a lot of acting experience.

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  5. I actually hated this. I admire the way its made and props to Sean Baker for making such a good looking film with some iPhones, but I found the writing and the characters to be really, really uninteresting and it just kept losing me as it progressed forward.
    Glad you had a better time with this.

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    1. Aw, I'm sorry you didn't like it. I hate when that happens.

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  6. So happy May Taylor won an Independent Spirit awards for her role in this film!

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    1. That reminds me, I have to check out the full list of winners.

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