Film Review: Tangerine


Title: Tangerine

Director: Sean Baker

Writer: Sean Baker, Chris Bergoch

Stars: Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, Mya Taylor, Karren Karagulien

Release Date: In cinemas now

Review by Dave Griffiths

When a film comes out and is boasting that ‘it does something that has never been done before’ most film lovers will start to question it without a second though. Is it something I really have never seen before or is it a gimmick that is designed to try and put bums on seat rather than deliver a good film. Anybody else remember The Blair Witch Project? The so-called found footage film (come on guys we know it was staged) is one of the highest grossing horror films of all time… but is it one of the best? Certainly not. No it made it’s money from people curious to see this new style of filmmaking.

Now comes Tangerine a film that has everybody talking due to the fact that the film has been completely shot on iPhone cameras. While the fact that the film doesn’t look like someone shot it on a mobile phone is a feat in itself the real weight comes with whether or not the film is worth watching.

Directed by Sean Baker (Starlet) Tangerine is set on Christmas Eve and follows the events that occur after transgender prostitute Sin-Dee Rella (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez – newcomer) is released from prison and learns from her colleague and best friend Alexandra (Mya Taylor – Hollywood Wasteland) that while she has been behind bars her boyfriend/pimp, Chester (James Ransone – Sinister) has cheated on her with the very real and very female Dinah (Mickey O’Hagan – Starlet). This sets Sin-Dee on the mission to find both of them.

As a film Tangerine holds it own. Story wise it works and the main story of Sin-Dee hunting down the guilty is well cut with other stories including Alexandra trying to get all her friends together to watch her perform and local taxi driver Razmik (Karren Karagulian – Four Letter Words) cruising the streets looking for some transgender prostitute action.

There are some faults with the film though. While Baker has made the film as hard edged as some of Larry Clark’s early films some of his scenes tend to drag, which makes it frustrating when you realise that the really dramatic storyline here is when Razmik catches up with the girls and then finds himself in family strife. While that story delivers the payload for the audience the original story around Sin-Dee gets a little grating as it drags on.

Still Tangerine is well worth a look and should show everybody out there that there is nor reason why you can’t be a filmmaker as well.

3 Stars