Throw a Shot Back: when Sin-Dee says “F*** it” and begins the rampage.
Take a Drink: every time Alexandra mentions Drama.
Take a Drink: every time the poor “fish” gets thrown around.
Do a Shot: every time drugs are seen or mentioned.
Finish your Drink: ’cause those donuts look damn good.
By: Movie Snurb (A Toast) –
First off, I want to say thank you to Sean Baker. He made an original, time relevant, refreshing, and entertaining film. I think I can speak for all film lovers when I say good job and thank you. Kitana “Kiki” Rodriguez plays Sin-Dee Rella, a transsexual prostitute who is just released from a short stint in jail. Sin-Dee learns from best friend and also transsexual prostitute Alexandra, played by Mya Taylor, that her pimp boyfriend Chester, played by James Ransone, has been cheating on Sin-Dee with a “real fish”- a real woman. That’s a term that I just learned from this film. After this, Sin-Dee goes on a huge tear though the seedy part of Los Angeles to find the fish that Chester cheated on her with. Poor Alexandra is forced to follow her to make sure the entire city doesn’t burn. It’s an absolute wild ride and you’ll love every minute of it.
Kitana Rodriguez and Mya Taylor play their roles effortlessly. While watching the film you forget that you’re watching a film and not a documentary. It’s rare you see a film that the actor was born to play the role and that’s the case with Rodriguez and Taylor. The whole cast is spectacular, but it’s the two stars that shine bright in this film. Without these two the film would not have been as wild and entertaining. They’ll be overlooked for Oscar nominations, but their performances definitely warrant at least nominations.
Since the film uses no name actors except for James Ransone (Generation Kill) and it’s shot in a part of L.A. we don’t get to see often, the film feels very real. We get to see the real Los Angeles. Most of the time we see Hollywood and Beverly Hills we forget there is another whole part to L.A. and it’s not so glamorous. The film’s realness is heightened by Sean’s decision to show us the real Los Angeles. A lot of the extras look like real people as well; they don’t look like actors.
Sean used three iPhones to film the entire movie with the help of FiLMIC for control focus, aperture, color temperature, and to capture video clips at higher bit-rates. They also used an adapter from Moondog Labs to capture widescreen, along with a steadicam apparatus to capture smooth moving shots. This allowed them to focus their expenses on other places in front of the camera instead of behind the camera. When you watch the film you would have no idea; it looks just like another low-budget indie film (which it was). Sean used Final Cut Pro and the Da Vinci Resolve to correct contrast for final editing.
This new style of filmmaking could really change the game for future filmmakers. Before you would’ve needed lots of money to make your film come alive, but now Sean Baker showed us you can make a quality film with just a phone and some apps and software. It also came in handy because if you’re using your phone to film you don’t need permits to film on the streets. With this you’re able to just use people on the street and grab extras at the last minute. It’s a complete new style of filmmaking and I’m ready to embrace it.
This film is a fresh new idea from the writing and story to the filmmaking itself. It’s a highly entertaining film with a lot of heart. Rodriguez and Taylor give some of the most human performances I’ve seen in a while. If you’re looking for a different kind of film that you’ll enjoy I could not recommend this film more.