New perspective. So this is about a young transgender girl that is fresh out of jail (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) on Christmas Eve in Los Angeles. She is looking for her pimp that broke her heart, and will stop at nothing until she finds him. This is a big year for transgender people in film; between this and The Danish Girl, there’s a lot of attention being drawn to a subject that otherwise gets largely ignored. While The Danish Girl is one of the dryer films to be released this year (review to come shortly), the other side of that coin is Tangerine, a colorful, always kinetic indie film that you don’t watch, but experience.
She works hard for the money, so you better treat her right.
The title of this review is a riff on the jabs people made at Apple’s advertisement campaign, but it shouldn’t be understated that one of the most remarkable things about this is that this was all shot on iPhone 5S. Obviously they have the use of steady cams and all the accessories that typically comes with making a movie, but Tangerine is a testament of doing more with less, showing that you can create a quality film with a shoestring budget. It also shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the chief production company of the mumblecore movement, the Duplass Brothers, helped produce this. They don’t always back experiments that are wholly successful, but they almost always get behind projects that have something going on for them. In that sense, Tangerine works far more often than not.
It’s pretty inspiring for anybody who has ever been tempted to get out there and just make a movie.
I wouldn’t say that this is for everyone. If you still haven’t gotten with the times and are uncomfortable with LGBT, obviously, you would want to stay away from this. If you are comfortable with RuPaul’s Drag Race, you should take the time with this one, because you are going to be treated to something that is vibrant, energetic, always moving with a great soundtrack and features some very raw emotionally charged performances. I will say that the only mark against Tangerine is that it really doesn’t have a story with any intricacies whatsoever; this is just this girl traveling all over Los Angeles on Christmas Eve, and that is pretty much it. However, the way these girls carry themselves and live their lives is interesting enough that I can give this a solid recommendation.
Tangerine (2015) ****
– Critic for Hire
Want to see where this fell in my list of best films of the 2015? See for yourself here.