Sporting innovations both welcome (a story about transgender characters, played by actual transgender performers) and potentially worrisome (it was shot entirely on tricked-out iPhones), this ridiculously kinetic Sundance blast delivers enough spillover juice to light LA for a year. Director Sean Baker’s film finds friends Sin-Dee (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) and Alexandra (Mya Taylor) reuniting on Christmas Eve. After the accidental revelation that Sin-Dee’s boyfriend/pimp has taken up with a cisgender woman, she starts stomping towards the offending “fish” with a hilarious single-mindedness that puts the demon in It Follows to shame. As the more levelheaded Alexandra gives chase, a lovestruck cab driver (Karren Karagulian) gets drawn into the whirlwind. Potential viewers can be forgiven for some skepticism towards the heavily-publicized reliance on camera phones, but the filmmakers brilliantly make their limitations work for them, concocting a delirious glow that captures the nuclear-hued aura of Los Angeles in a way few movies can. Even if the energy does diminish some in the last 20 minutes, a final lovely gesture between the two terrific leads ensures that Tangerine’s wonderfully unstable molecules persist. After the credits roll, the dizzy crackle remains.
Director: Sean Baker
Producer: Sean Baker, Karrie Cox, Marcus Cox, Darren Dean, Shih-Ching Tsou, Jay Duplass and Mark Duplass
Cast: Kitana Rodriguez, Mya Taylor, Karren Karagulian, Mickey O'Hagan, James Ransone, Alla Tumanian, Luiza Nersisyan and Arsen Grigoryan