Review: Tangerine (2015)


There are certain films that don’t follow through on their initial hype, and then there’s Tangerine, which more than validates its early buzz. Sin-Dee (Kitana Kiki Rodriquez) is fresh out of prison, splitting a celebratory donut with her friend Alexandra (Mya Taylor) when it comes out that her pimp has been sleeping around. Enraged, Sin-Dee scours the bright, dangerous streets of downtown LA for revenge; Alexandra trailing in an foolish attempt to avoid drama. Exquisitely shot by writer-director Sean Baker, the loose filming style intimately captures the harsh realities of street life. There’s a certain sad darkness to the narrative that represents the loneliness and risk of the lives that these characters inhabit. Instead of letting this overwhelm the narrative, however, Baker keeps the script afloat with quick-fire dialogue and sharp humour as run-ins and business transactions arise one after the other. The performances, too, add electricity; the chemistry between Rodriquez and Taylor felt every step of the way. At no point is Tangerine restricted by the fact it was shot on modified iPhone’s for no money. It’s cinematic and alive with honesty – an extremely fiery breath of fresh air.

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