Sunday, February 21, 2016

Indie Review: Tangerine (2015)

                'Tangerine' Is Colorful And Inventive Movie Magic
      Soooo, if I went out and made at least a short film with some other people and shot it with my old iPhone, I can create masterful movie magic like director Sean Baker did with Tangerine? Huh. What a world.

     Tangerine follows the story of a transgendered prostitute named Sin-Dee Rella (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) who goes out in search of her pimp boyfriend who cheated on her and tags along with her close friend Alexandra (Mya Taylor).

    I'll start right off with the cinematography. I think the concept of director Sean Baker filming entirely on an iPhone was genius and he was able to make for some great visual storytelling. While the characters do have a lot of dialogue to say, there are moments where Baker is able to let the camera do all the talking while aiding those moments with a unique color scheme.

    One of my favorite sequences is the one where Alexandra is performing at a nightclub. The camera hardly ever leaves her as we hear her expressive and melancholic voice. She is also heavily surrounded by the color red which made the physical look of the scene more gorgeous to look at. Even some of the nighttime scenes, where the characters are surrounded by Christmas lights to create a sense of irony, were also gorgeous to look at.

    I also really liked some of the sound effects incorporated. For example, in the scene where Sin-Dee finds out her boyfriend cheated, as she walks out of the donut shop, you hear the sudden sound of gunshots. It is essentially an indication that Sin-Dee is mad as hell and out for revenge.

     Lastly, I'll go into what really anchors the film and that is the two lead performances. Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Mya Taylor give very charismatic and alive performances as two best friends who are the yin to each other's yang. Rodriguez's Sin-Dee is more outspoken and willing to throw a punch while Taylor's Alexandra is the reserved voice of reason. I can understand Mya Taylor collecting accolades in the Supporting Actress category since the film mostly focuses on Sin-Dee's pursuit, but the film in reality is a two-hander. In the end of the day, it's about both their stories.

     NIL. Although, I do not like how The Danish Girl, which was like watching a dull and lifeless painting, got more awards buzz simply because it has a more starry cast and was from a bigger distributor while Tangerine which has a cast of unknowns while still showing how alive and fun movie making can be, got largely ignored.

      Overall, Tangerine is an innovative indie gem that serves as a reminder of the fun and magic of making movies. Any aspiring filmmaker that watches this will believe that they can make their own piece of magic just by hitting the Record button on their phones as well. What a movie!

Grade: A+