Tangerine Review

Released in 2015, Sean Baker’s Tangerine made headlines not only for its raw depiction of transgender sex workers but the entire film was shot on an iPhone. Seven years on from its original release, a brand new Limited Edition Blu-ray is now available from Second Sight.

Arriving three years before Steven Soderbergh shot his psychological thriller Unsane (starring Claire Foy) on an iPhone, Baker’s Tangerine is less narrative-driven with its day in the life of approach. It’s Christmas Eve in Hollywood, and Sin-Dee Rella (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) has been freshly released from a month-long stint in jail. Her hopes for a merry Christmas seem dashed when Sin-Dee discovers that her partner/pimp Chester, has been having an affair while she was serving time. Aided by her friend Alexandra, Sin-Dee searches for Chester on the streets of L.A.

Baker has crafted a beautiful, chaotic and unapologetically honest film, it’s a long way from the bubblegum antics of Pretty Woman, but Tangerine isn’t trying to sell a fairy tale romance. There are no heroes, no villains, just people, some making bad choices, others lying to themselves about who they are, and all of them intersect throughout a night that is anything but silent. It’s a bold, visually brazen second feature from Baker, who went on to make the exceptional The Florida Project just two years later.

In the same way that Kevin Smith’s Clerks helped open doors for the next wave of Indie Filmmakers, Tangerine should be held in the same regard. While its setting may suggest an examination into the seedy underbelly of Hollywood, Tangerine is firmly about the bonds of friendship and community. At times bleak, frequently funny with an acidic bite, fearlessly shot with true indie film spirit, Tangerine is many things, but above all, it’s essential viewing.

Tangerine Limited Edition Blu-ray is out now from Second Sight.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *