June 16, 2016 § Leave a comment
NOTE: This following review has been written shortly before the continuing events surrounding the HB2 act in North Carolina. Although, I did not write anything in this review about this bill, I do want to mention anyway because it is a very controversial issue amongst the LGBT community especially those that are transgender. Many are against this bill idea and I am one of them since I know few friends that are transgender and they along with anybody else have their own right to exist to change their own gender and live whom they want to truly be. I’m also not gonna bring up the recent Orlando Shooting in this and next review due to the fact that it’s already been written but the fourth one will have its mention since the movie I’m reviewing is significant not just to what happened but to the community overall and this event is a sad tragedy that affects anyone so my condolences to those that lost their loved ones. They won’t be forgotten by many and hope emotional wounds have been healed sooner rather than later. I’m done with this intro let’s get on to this review as it was originally written.
So after I mentioned I came to terms that I’m bisexual back in my David Bowie obituary tribute, I discover that I didn’t review much LGBT movies in this site. I mean, there’s a few like Transformers: Dark of the Moon (Alan Tudyk as a gay stereotype), Predestination and The Neighbors but the last one is more of a internet-based television series. So outside of possibly Predestination, I didn’t look at one movie that primary involving transgender part of the community and since that boggles my mind on why there’s a lack of LGBT material here, this movie I’m looking at is what really led to what I set up for this theme month.
And the movie I’m looking at is Tangerine, an indie surprise hit that’s made by Sean S. Baker, the man who co-created Greg The Bunny and Warren The Ape. Other than that, he has directed Take Out and Starlet which also got him critical acclaim. Now I first came to know about this movie through a recent best movies of 2015 video by Kyle Kallgren and it caught my interest enough to check it out. I sat down and watched it and… I now wish this was in my best of 2015 article (in the same way on how I wish Snowpiercer was in best of 2014 article).
Taking place in a town in Los Angeles, the movie focused on Sin-Dee Rella (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez), a transgender sex worker who is about to return to her job following her near-month prison sentence. After finding out from her best friend Alexandra (Mya Taylor) who’s also a transgender sex worker that her boyfriend and pimp Chester (James Ransone) is cheating with a cisgender woman. Sin-Dee got furious and decides to go around the streets to find either Chester or the girl with Alexandra briefly on her side before she wants no part of this and goes to do her job.
Meanwhile, there’s a subplot involving taxi driver Razmik (Karren Karaguilian) who does his work before he spent his cash on any transgender prostitute so he could go down on one of them, even though he’s a married father. As he took a little time with his family and his wife’s mother and relatives for Christmas, he tells them that he’s working tonight for Christmas but what he’s actually doing is going to see Alexandra’s show and wanna pay his remaining cash for his crush Sin-Dee. That concerns his mother-in-law who doesn’t believe whatever he says.
Now what makes this movie unique and unlike anything I seen and I’m not the only one to see that. This movie shows realism and raw documentary-like feel that is understandable since not only it is shot in few iPhones instead of digital film cameras but both Kitana and Mya were former sex workers who knew each other for years before Mya got noticed by Sean which in short, leads to this movie to exist. And their performance in this movie is well-done and I hope to see their newfound movie career go somewhere good so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for this.
And James Ransone (or Ziggy from The Wire as he’s best known for) gives his own performance as well. As for Karren, now this one is gonna be critical. Yes, he gives good performance as well but to be honest, his subplot is kind of minor filler. That is just my opinion and I would be fine if his subplot is trimmed a bit but beyond it, there are some scenes with him that is not necessary. Do note that his introduction is not part of it since it shows what civilian’s life in the streets is like as well as the Car Wash sequence which according to Sean, he heard it from Mya plus there’s a point that Sean want to do a one-take involving a car wash in any movie he directs so he chose this one and given the responses, it became a hallmark moment so he chose it well.
So this movie is worth checking out if you wanna see a transgender movie that is very close to reality because this one is really good. I can’t think of anything else to write what I wrote. Okay, since I’m had reviewed one about bisexuality and one about transgender, that only leaves two so next week, I’m looking at the lesbian side of it and trust me, it is definitely nothing like Invasion of the Pod People (which is now a movie I wish to forget).