A story of transgender hookers and people associated with them. That is what Tangerine is all about. They a loud, they are colorful. They stand distinctive in a crowd. And they are all about the drama. What is it that makes them so different than the others? Why is there any kind of discrimination based on gender. That is what this movie got me thinking. Drama is the same irrespective of the gender.
Lets see how the story plays out.
A transgender hooker, Sin-Dee just gets out of prison after 28 days. What she does on her first day out turns more dramatic than she imagined. Alexander, her friend she worked the block with informs her that her boyfriend has been cheating on her with another women while she was in prison. Outraged, Sin-Dee sets out to find this women. A movie set on Christmas eve on the streets of Los Angeles covers a day in the life of Sin-Dee, Alexander and the few people associated with the situation at hand.
It is a long day for our characters venturing out the streets. Everyone has their own story to tell. But at the end of it all, they come together for one dramatic climax.
As Sin-Dee is out looking for her boyfriends hooker, Alexander is announcing her big performance she is set out to do to all her friends. Razmik, a regular cab driver is just another customer who crushes on Sin-Dee. His character plays a simple yet effective role in the drama to unravel. The movie starts out well with introducing these main characters that drive the story forward. Accompanied, on the way are Dinah and Chester that appear mainly during the climax.
Lets talk characters and actors.
Kitana Kiki Rodriguez brings life to the character Sin-Dee. And she does it quite well too. As a transgender hooker in the streets of LA, she is loud as ever in the search for finding her cheater boyfriend. But guess it is a bit valid in her case. Alexander played by Mya Taylor is effortless. As a transgender in real life maybe it comes to her easy. She is supportive as a friend as she is there for Sin-Dee till the very end.
As the story moves forward, it starts to drag a little bit. With the characters just walking about the streets for screen time, you might start to loose focus. Sean Baker, the director of the film keeps the story raw and real like. Like his other films A Florida Project. Which is also a very real time direction. Movies like this start a bit slow may not be as entertaining as other directions. But the rawness of the film and the reality of the story makes for an interesting watch.
Meanwhile, Razmix played by Karren Karagulian has his own story to tell. A cab driver in LA throwing vomiting drunks out of his cabs to paying for relief during a car wash. All this while posing as a respectable family man. As a director, Sean Baker has really blended in the lives of completely different people to come together.
Why Tangerine makes for a good watch.
What is surprising about the movie is how it was shot. The film was shot on an Iphone 5s. Interesting, isn’t it? This is not the first phone shot film. Olive was also shot on a Nokia 8 phone. Maybe that is what give the movie a raw feel to it. The shots are fairly simple but look exotic on the screen. The characters have a real time feel to them. What adds to it is the music. The soundtrack of the film is loud and accurately placed with the scenarios of the film. It gives you nudge after the long monotonous scenes. Kind of like telling you “hey, the drama is about the start.”
The climax is something to look forward to. The events leading up to the end might bring you down. Not knowing what is happening. As the end approaches, the story gets you going. The climax is when the real drama starts. When all the characters meet and the secrets are unraveled. It gets intense and dramatic.
Transgender women-the film is all about them. What got me wondering is how their life is any different than the life of a Caucasian hooker. Transgender women probably have it harder than any. This movie shows you how and why. More than anything the Sean Baker probably wanted to tell a story of friendship, betrayal and trust. Adding transgender characters just caught more attention.
Well, all in all the film is a decent watch. When you have a day off and want to indulge in a simple non-complicated drama. Tangerine is the film for you.